• April 5th, 2020

Five referral hospitals needed - Haufiku

Former health minister Bernard Haufiku said the country needs about five referral hospitals to ease the traffic of patients coming to the two Windhoek state hospitals. Haufiku said it was not possible to construct a referral hospital in each region given the country’s demography. 

Out of the 27 state hospitals, the country has five referral hospitals, including Windhoek Central, which is considered a national referral facility, while the Katutura, Oshakati, Onandjokwe and Rundu facilities are intermediate hospitals. Altogether, the ministry of health is responsible for 431 public facilities, including 27 hospitals, 37 health centres and 287 clinics. 

A referral hospital is still planned for Ondangwa. In an interview with New Era yesterday, Haufiku said plans during his reign as minister included putting up a regional referral hospital in Otjiwarongo to capture patients in the Otjozondjupa region and part of Kunene and Kavango East. He said another possible referral hospital was identified for Keetmanshoop and in Erongo region, ideally at the coast. “Those are the four (referral hospitals) and the fifth one we looked at either Rundu or Katima Mulilo but we were looking at Katima Mulilo maybe because of the distance,” he said. 

Haufiku, who now serves as special health advisor in the Presidency, shared his views with New Era in an interview about the country’s healthcare system. “We analysed the referral system in Windhoek and some of the departments like the cancer department and the heart patients department – up to 60% of the referrals were from the northern part of the country, stretching from Zambezi, Kavango East and West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati and Kunene,” he remarked. 

He explained one of the serious constraints placed on the hospitals in Windhoek is the lack of beds for patients. Haufiku said the hospital they planned in Ondangwa would include an oncology centre. He stated they also looked at putting up a consulting centre for heart patients, especially children. 

“We have a lot of children with a condition called rheumatic heart disease. This disease of the heart that is caused by infection by bacteria in early childhood and it causes the heart valve to be damaged. That is why a lot of people have heart condition in Namibia and we have a lot coming from the north,” he stated. He also said a dialysis centre to treat patients with kidney problems was needed for the north. -sikela@nepc.com.na 

Selma Ikela
2020-02-19 07:14:34 | 1 months ago

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