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District hospitals to have permanent doctors – M.O.H.

The Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) is working to address the doctor shortage crisis currently being faced by district hospitals in Samoa.

Interim M.O.H. Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, told the Samoa Observer in a recent interview that one of the benefits of the National Health Service's merger with the Ministry is that it will strengthen public health outcomes. 

He said they are working with the World Bank on a project, which will see the deployment of multi-disciplinary medical teams to be stationed permanently in district hospitals. 

“And part of Ministry of Health's strategy is that we now have a coordinated Division of Public Health, where all community health centers all over district hospitals will be under.

“One of the requirements, we are now teaming up with World Bank in the project, is to have multidisciplinary teams to man the district hospitals and this will include a doctor, nurse, district health nurse, midwife and environmental health – they will stay permanently and contracted to run the hospital.

“We are working on it now, and we are very grateful to the World Bank for offering their assistance, through the staffing and start off and also with the infrastructure. We are hoping this change will begin this year,” he said.

Leausa also took the opportunity to respond to a story titled "Lack of doctors led to misdiagnosis – mother alleges", which this newspaper published in the Thursday, April 25, 2019 edition. The story was based on the testimony of a mother from Siumu village, who blamed the lack of doctors in district hospitals for a nurse "misdiagnosing" her baby.

He said it is his opinion that there was no misdiagnosis and the nurses did their job to the best of their capability. 

“If you look at the history, it has been such a long time since there were no doctors in district hospitals. We have been trying to contract doctors to go once or twice a week, but they don’t stay there they come back so maybe these cases happen in the weekend.

“In my own opinion there was no misdiagnosis, the nurses have done their job at the best of their capabilities which was not a misdiagnosis, and it was just a case where the patient could not respond to the oral antibiotic treatment.

“Pneumonia is not something that happens acutely it builds up slowly," he added.

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