• November 21st, 2018
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Katutura hospital is pathetic, Mr President!


It is a very old maxim that ‘Health is Wealth’. A healthy person can work with efficiency to earn wealth. Good health is a great asset. It is the most valuable treasure a man could have. My mother is a very ill 48-year-old woman who had another one of her gruesome scares again this week. I was at work but quickly had to call the City of Windhoek ambulance service to rush her to the Katutura State Hospital. I would like to applaud the City of Windhoek ambulance service for the swift and friendly assistance in this medical emergency. The ambulance got to my mother, who stays in Okuryangava, within 15 minutes. They arrived at hospital at around past 11h00 and she was sent to the X-ray division immediately. She spent seven hours without any nurse, doctor, matron, cleaner or security guard tending to her where she was left to wallow in her own vomit and excruciating pains in hunger and silence due to the pain. I rushed to the hospital as soon as I knocked off from work and asked to speak to anyone who could help us in this dire medical emergency. You can imagine my rage and frustration at this point by the site of my ill mother and many very ill, old and young patients coughing, whining and crying from the pains they must’ve been experiencing in this crowded facility with little to no help for nearly ten hours. When I confronted the state staff and nurses I received a rude and nonchalant abrasive response from the nurses and they had the audacity to tell me that if we don’t like it there we can gladly go elsewhere. This is coming from people you appointed and entrust with the lives of the poor (us). Only after demanding that they do a better job as they deal with a crowd of patients on a daily basis and therefore should have better control of situations of this extreme, did they start picking up the pace and then we all finally saw the queue moving in progress. The public health care of Namibia is the responsibility of the state, local and also central government. In the din of a slowing economy, rampaging inflation, crime and incessant political manoeuvrings, Namibia’s list of challenges continues to grow. Of all these challenges, there is one that seems insurmountable already and, worse, could soon end up becoming a calamity, aggravating the suffering and death of hundreds of thousands of Namibians, all due to their negligence and lack of interest in their jobs. This challenge relates to the provision of accessible and accountable healthcare to each and every single citizen of Namibia. It is disappointing to know that this is the service we are getting. I know we are poor but we do need better medical assistance. We get poor healthcare. Why should we be treated as if we are nothing? Does being poor somehow diminish the fact that we too are human beings? Why should we sit in cold waiting rooms for hours on end? If we complain then their attitudes surface. Why are the nurses chatting on their phones whilst Meme Maria is about to have her second seizure of the day? Why is the night shift nurse sleeping? How many patients are dying because the staff just don’t care?! If they are understaffed, get more staff! It makes no sense having a big hospital at all. Is this type of support and service fair on anyone? A complete overhaul is urgently needed. Apart from the academic and professional training that personnel in the health sector received, they need motivation, encouragement and a proper reward system in exchange for the services they render. But most importantly, they need a great deal of understanding of service delivery as compared to the current clumsy and poor service they give to the patients. 1. Some personnel, particularly those at the points of registration, card searching and fee payment, are often ill-prepared with poor understanding of the importance of time, customer care and patient service. One wonders whether they were ever told that patients have other commitments after having been seen by the doctors. 2. Insufficient doctors on duty. At state hospitals, health centers and clinics, such as Katutura hospital, a health center near Black Chain complex in Katutura, Okuryangava clinic and others, one observes long queues due to the fact that patients are overwhelmingly too many to be attended to by one or two doctors on duty. Long queues are noticeable on a daily basis. The question of inadequate number of doctors on duty must be addressed urgently if this government cares for the people, even if it means recalling some medical doctors from private sector practices. As a consequence of overcrowding, some doctors do not pay sufficient attention in examining patients, as if to suggest that the objective is to shorten the queues. 3. Pharmacy. At Katutura State Hospital, for example, patients do wait for their medicines for not less than four hours. This is ridiculous, inhuman and senseless to say the least. In some cases, it is reported that patients are being sent home without their prescribed medicine, only to return the following day. This is a total violation of human rights of patients, and should be discouraged and stopped forthwith. The excuse of one pharmacist on duty is not acceptable after 28 years of independence. Generally, pharmacists must be well trained, committed and speedy in organizing the prescribed medicine. Such pharmacists must possess good understanding of service delivery in dispensing the medicine to the patients. ‘People need to be healthy if they have to learn, earn and lead a productive and fulfilling life.’ The pathetic condition of government hospitals is no surprise to anyone. Affordable but reliable healthcare is still an illusion in government hospitals. Do one-off raids change these conditions??? Or, are they just an eyewash??? Concerned, law-abiding, hurt, ashamed, appalled and fed-up citizen ... Rebecca Kamanda
New Era Reporter
2018-07-20 09:57:07 4 months ago

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