18 Mar 2004

Samoa struggles to keep doctors

1:10 pm on 18 March 2004

The Samoa government is sending some of its medical students to Fiji instead of New Zealand, and putting measures in place to ensure they return home upon graduation.

Samoa's is currently facing a shortage of doctors, and according to a newspaper report, has signed on four Indian doctors, on one and two year contracts.

The Head of the Ministry's of Health's Clinical Services, Dr Stanley Dean, says many medical students who study in New Zealand stayed on after graduation and become New Zealand citizens.

Dr Stanley says however, there is a wide range of reasons why the students choose not to return home.

"One of the main reasons is salary. So, I think it's working conditions is one thing that's attractive for people to stay after training in New Zealand and Australia. It's the main obstacle for a small country like us that can't really meet the working conditions of those big countries."

Head of the Ministry of Health's clinical services in Samoa, Dr Stanley Dean.