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Tuila'epa apologizes to families of deceased who remain in morgues

Samoa's Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital
Source: RNZ Pacific

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's Prime Minister has apologized to families of those who have been kept in morgues, some for more than 12 months, while awaiting post mortems.

Speaking on his weekly television program, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said the government had finally secured a pathologist to come to Samoa and perform the autopsies to determine the cause of death.

After apologizing to the families of the deceased he said it was a legal requirement that government could not change.

Tuila'epa said the pathologist will arrive as soon as they have been cleared to travel.

In the past Samoa had relied on pathologists from Australia and New Zealand but that arrangement had been complicated by the closing of borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The prime minister also said he hoped locals would put up their hands to get a government scholarship to train as a pathologist.

But Tuila'epa admitted it was not a glamorous profession and people tended to shy away from it.