20 May 2008

Samoa agencies called on to do more to combat typhoid source

3:12 pm on 20 May 2008

The World Health Organisation says Samoa authorities must do a lot more to seriously address the severity of typhoid in the country.

Typhoid is caused by bacteria and is picked up through contaminated food or water, killing 600 000 people worldwide each year.

The main hospital in Apia sees up to 12 suspected typhoid patients each day.

A WHO representative, Kevin Palmer, says although the Ministry of Health has started to take the illness seriously, it's not doing enough.

"It's been addressed, but it's far from being solved. They've ordered more equipment for the laboratory so that they can do the stool samples to track the source. But up to now there's been no new information available. We are now looking at the quality of the water. Most people in Samoa drink water that is very highly contaminated."

Kevin Palmer says the government must exchange the water pipes, which mostly stem from colonial times, to get rid of the typhoid.