6 Apr 2005

Continuing shortage of medicine at American Samoa's LBJ hospital

7:48 pm on 6 April 2005

People using American Samoa's only hospital are reporting that there is still a shortage of even basic medicines.

There is a lack of painkillers, a shortage of re-agents for blood tests and x-ray film is difficult to obtain despite the governor, Togiola Tulafono, saying that a federal agency has now agreed to begin re-supplying the LBJ medical center.

The move follows his veto of a senate bill which would have provided 500,000 U.S. dollars for medical supplies, in what our correspondent, Monica Miller, says was an effort to put pressure on the hospital to cut payroll costs.

And, she says the LBJ center is making an effort to get in more supplies.

"The CEO of the LBJ has said that they are going to make the medical supplies the top priority and they are going to delay payment of other bills, in the meantime, while they await a decision from government leaders on when they're going to get any funding."

Ms Miller says the situation is being exacerbated by people stocking up on the basic supplies that are arriving.