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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 23:02 GMT
Honduras in healthcare emergency
Manuel Zelaya
President Manuel Zelaya has moved to free up funds for health services
The president of Honduras has declared a state of emergency within the country's healthcare system because of a shortage of drugs in hospitals.

Reports suggest hospitals across the Central American state only have 30% of the drugs needed to treat people.

The authorities blame the problem on poor administration, crime and a lack of funds for health services.

The move follows media reports that a teenage boy died when a hospital did not have the medicine to treat him.

Fourteen-year-old Javier Bueso, a haemophiliac, was taken to a hospital in the capital, Tegucigalpa, after hurting himself playing football.

But the hospital had run out of factor eight, a clotting agent used to treat haemophilia.

The boy's death was reported in the Honduran media.

President Zelaya, who narrowly won a November 2005 election, has vowed to tackle poverty in what is one of Central America's poorest nations.

A statement issued by his office said that the government approved the emergency steps on Monday, the Spanish news agency Efe reported.

The move authorises the purchase of $8m (4.6m) worth of medicine before 30 April and sets up a special committee of national health bodies to oversee the spending.

The BBC's Will Grant says that the president has moved to act swiftly on this issue.

But while the move will free up funds for the healthcare system in the short term, the system's long-term ills will not be so easily remedied, he says.

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