31 Mar 2004

Health cuts in American Samoa harming services say staff

3:28 pm on 31 March 2004

Hospital staff in American Samoa say that cost cuts by the Hospital Authority Board will affect the delivery of health care.

A veteran nurse says that basic supplies such as oxygen masks, IV catheters, and neutralizers for breathing treatments are in short supply.

She says some equipment meant for single use is being rinsed and re-used because of the shortage.

Our correspondent says other staff have complained about the inadequate number of ventilator machines and say some recent deaths may be due to the delay in putting patients on ventilators.

As a condition of a five million US dollar loan from the Territorial Government, the Hospital Board was required to cut its costs and raise revenues.

Earlier this year it notified the Government that it had cut more than 600 thousand US dollars from its spending by reducing expenditure on medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and ancillary services.