12 Apr 2006

American Samoa hospital waves fees for pregnant women

3:38 pm on 12 April 2006

The American Samoa LBJ hospital says it is waiving fees for pregnant women.

The hospital board chairman, Charles Warren, says they will receive free prenatal care and delivery in future if no major complications occur.

He says the hospital changed the fee structure because of concerns about high infant mortality rates.

"Our goal is to encourage pregnant women to come in and receive prenatal care at the earliest opportunity and then continue with their prenatal care all the way through delivery. The primary objective is to improve care and eventually reduce costs. If we give birth to more healthy ladies and we have healthy mums, then the medical centre will save money over time."

The programme will start this month.