OMUTHIYA- The Omuthiya District Hospital is in a shocking state as patients, including mothers delivering babies at night, are being attended to with cellphone lights, while admitted patients escape the dark hospital at night.
Equally worse, taps at the hospital constantly run dry and nurses are forced to source water from a hosepipe in a dark corner outside, where one was almost bitten by a snake.
According to some nurses and doctors at the hospital, the light situation stems from last year while the water shortages are quite frequent.
Local bulbs are not compatible with the light sockets at the Chinese-built hospital, and can only be procured from China.
Oshikoto regional health director Joshua Nghipangelwa confirmed that the lights at the hospital are indeed not working. But he maintains that his office has procured them, and the situation will be back to normal soon.
“I am busy with the purchase order. I will sort it out very soon,” he stated.
Nghipangelwa claims that apart from the Omuthiya hospital, lights at all the clinics and health centres within the Oshikoto region will be fixed, with the exception of the Onandjokwe hospital.
“Sometimes these people are taken to theatre. It is not easy to operate in the dark. We need light at night”, a worried nurse told New Era.
The medical staff have also expressed frustration over the constant water interruptions, which allegedly happen without prior notice from the town council.
A doctor claimed that a water shortage at the hospital can last up to a week or two. In such cases, health workers are forced to bring along some buckets from their homes in order to collect water from a fire hydrant situated outside the hospital building.
“Earlier this year, I was almost bitten by a snake while fetching water from the fire hydrant to give to the patients. This is just frustrating.
The toilet odour can be very unpleasant – it sometimes takes too long before they are flushed,” she lamented.
At times, the public takes water to the hospital for their hospitalised family members to consume and to take medicine.
Nghipangelwa explained that the constant water interruption at the hospital is caused by a low pressure on the water pipeline that connects it from Ondangwa to Omuthiya.
“We will put up a water tank at the hospital premises so that whenever there is no water, people can collect water from the tank,” he added.
Nghipangelwa urged the health workers to always notify his office on time when they encounter challenges.
Meanwhile, a similar situation of doctors using flashlights in the operating theatre was reported at the Engela District Hospital recently. That hospital has no power generator, and doctors and nurses are forced to turn to their mobile phone lights when the power fails.