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Oshakati Health Centre accused of poor service

2023-10-26  Festus Hamalwa

Oshakati Health Centre accused of poor service

OSHAKATI – Patients at the Oshakati Health Centre have expressed frustration over poor service delivery by nurses.

Yesterday, New Era visited the clinic and observed patients sleeping under the trees as they waited to be assisted. Some who could not fathom the long queues left without getting medical attention. 

School learners claim they have no choice but to wait for the nurses to attend to them, thus they miss out on lessons and sometimes return to the hostel late at night.

“I came here around 08h00. I have no choice because I am sick, and I want to be treated. The queue is not moving,” said a grade 10 learner, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

Several members who spoke to New Era about their frustrations also opted for their identity not to be

This includes a woman from Ondjondjo village, who narrated that she received a call from the hostel matron about her daughter, who has a heart problem.



“I brought her to the clinic around 09h00, but we had to spend five hours in the queue. The child is sick, and she needs to go back to school,” she said.

A man who went to the clinic at around 09h00, complaining of diarrhoea, claims he requested nurses to assist him but to no avail.


“I had to beg nurses to assist me, but they kept telling me to go back to the queue. I could not eat anything because my stomach was in pain,” he said.

Another woman said she was not happy with the way nurses treated her.

“I brought my son in a critical condition – vomiting. I asked nurses to assist me since my son was vomiting non-stop, but they chased me out,” she said.

Patients are calling on the health ministry to visit the centre, which is located opposite the Oshakati State Hospital.

Approached for comment, the chief medical officer in the Oshana region, Dr Asumani Kibandwa, said the shortage of human resources is the main challenge at the clinic.

“We do not have enough nurses and doctors at the facility. Therefore, patients have to wait for too long to get treated,” he said.

 Kibandwa added that the clinic is too small to accommodate many patients.

“We need a big district hospital in the Oshana region,” he said.

Kibandwa further stressed that the population in the region is increasing daily, and it is the main reason the hospitals are overcrowded.

He said the building from which the clinic is operating is a house that was turned into a health facility.

“Some patients have a confidential disease, and this forces nurses to assist patients one by one. However, the consulting rooms are not enough,” he said.

According to the health ministry’s executive director Ben Nangombe, the ministry is aware of the shortage of human resources and infrastructure at hospitals.

“We have planned a cost of N$16 billion to solve the challenges of human resources and infrastructure in the country,” he said.

Nangombe further said the ministry has also planned to build two big district hospitals in the Oshana region.


Foreign health professionals

Meanwhile, Nangombe says the health ministry continues to hire foreign health professionals because Namibians do not apply for vacancies.

In some cases, he said, only foreigners apply for positions at various health centres, especially in small towns or remote areas.

Nangombe was reacting to a question by New Era on why they still hire foreign medical professionals while Namibians are graduating every year. 

This is in the face of high unemployment that has engulfed Namibian youth.

“It’s not that we are recruiting foreign doctors for a specific reason. For example, when the need arises, the vacancy is advertised and the professionals who are interested apply, and it so happens that, in some instances, only doctors from outside the country apply,” he said.

Nangombe noted that many Namibian health professionals are reluctant to be posted to remote areas.

“Our preference is to always recruit Namibians, but Namibians are not applying for these positions, and we cannot leave the positions vacant, because the public requires the service. So, we would then recruit those who are available –even if they are non-Namibians,’’ he stated.

Nangombe said, in terms of the number of health professionals, although he could not provide stats, he said the numbers are always fluctuating due to various reasons – and the demand is always high for health professionals. 

“We have people who leave the public service for one reason or another; others retire, and then we would then fill those vacancies as they arise. We would seek authorisation to fill the vacancies as they arise in various parts of the country,” he said.

Nangombe added that there are also challenges when it comes to hiring foreign health professionals, saying they would sometimes reject the offer in the final stages of recruitment.





2023-10-26  Festus Hamalwa

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