History - Overview

History - Overview

In this section we will attempt to describe the difficulties related to trying to provide comprehensive healthcare services to a growing population from within a poorly built, poorly maintained, and generally inadequate facility that has been long outgrown since it was constructed in June, 1968.

The healthcare service in American Samoa is mostly run by locally licensed doctors and questionably qualified administrative personnel, a number of whom do not seem to possess the caring will necessary to perform their duties.  This is certainly not to say however that everyone working in healthcare there is unqualified or uncaring.  There are a number of extremely dedicated people doing their best for what is needed from within these confines.  Clearly though, certain factions within the healthcare system are holding back lasting progress there, which continues to make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the more dedicated and capable individuals to perform at their peak levels.

Financial stability continues to be a monstrous problem for the medical center, and this is undoubtedly the most common excuse given by folks trying to explain away the deficiencies at LBJ.  We believe however that there exist many potential solutions to the ongoing funding problems that still have not even been explored (much less requested), or perhaps such solutions would simply require too much from the present administration (at all levels)?  There is also in our opinion a tremendous amount of waste going on with the existing funding sources, plus a documented unwillingness of the local (ASG) Government to keep up with their legally-mandated monthly budget subsidies.  We would also go so far as to say that there appears to be a significant amount of interal corruption as well. 

Thus there have been many ongoing difficulties faced by the local healthcare sector throughout the years, but at this point the general condition of healthcare in American Samoa can only be described as outdated, shameful, and even dangerous (not to mention inexcusable).  Quoting from the Reader's Digest 1961 article titled "Samoa: America's Shame in the South Seas", this one sentence unfortunately still very clearly speaks to current conditions at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center.  "While we have been doling out billions to underdeveloped nations, we have let our only South Pacific possession sink to the level of a slum." 

We will attempt to explain more about all of these issues throughout this website.