Alvine Kapitako OPUWO - Kunene health regional director Tomas Shapumba says that it is not the policy of the Ministry of Health and Social Services to refuse treatment to patients who do not have a health passport. “A patient should be assisted regardless [of having a health passport or not],” said Shapumba. He was responding to questions by New Era on claims that patients at Opuwo State Hospital and some health facilities in the former Kaokoland are refused treatment when they fail to produce a health passport. The headman of Omuţati village in Epupa Constituency, Maepingiko Tjindunda, recently told New Era that patients at health facilities are being turned away for failing to produce a health passport when seeking treatment at Opuwo. “If we don’t have a health passport, we are refused treatment. But in Windhoek or Oshakati they don’t refuse to treat us if we don’t have a health passport,” charged Tjindunda. However, Shapumba said that a patient who is denied treatment for failing to produce a health passport should report it to a senior medical officer (doctor) or matron of the hospital. “This way the necessary action will be taken against that staff member immediately,” said Shapumba. Furthermore, the headman also complained that patients have to wait long before being attended to by doctors at Opuwo State Hospital. “Nurses normally ask patients how long we have been sick and if they learn that they delayed seeking medical attention they scold the patients for the delay in seeking treatment. But what is the difference between staying at home without seeking medical attention if we have to wait days to be seen by a doctor when we get to Opuwo?” queried Tjindunda. To this, Shapumba responded that the shortage of doctors is not only felt in Opuwo but countrywide. “The ministry is working on this to improve the staffing situation,” added Shapumba.
New Era Reporter
2018-06-08 09:42:40 10 months ago