13 Dec 2005

Former Samoa government doctors stopped from giving free clinic - report

9:13 am on 13 December 2005

A report from Samoa suggests former government doctors have been stopped from giving free clinics.

The clinics on Savaii island last week were provided by 15 former government doctors who had resigned to avoid being dismissed after an unsuccessful strike to raise the entry level salaries of doctors and improve working conditions.

According to the Samoa Observer newspaper, the doctors arranged to hold their clinics at the Tuasivi College Hall, which belongs to the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa.

The clinic was scheduled to start at eight am and the doctors had caught the early morning ferry from Apia to Savaii .

However when they arrived, a man looking after the hall told the doctors that they couldn't hold their clinics there.

The man said the instructions came from a church official who had spoken to a government official.

The doctor who organised the clinic, Eric Fatupaito said the instructions for them to leave took them by surprise.

People were arriving from around Savaii to get free medical services from the doctors but they had to pack up and leave.

Dr Fatupaito said the incident had left them bitter and sad.

He said they wanted to help the people but they couldn't do anything if the government acted in this way.