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Non-compliance, staff shortages rock Kavango West

2021-07-29  Staff Reporter

Non-compliance, staff shortages rock Kavango West

Elizabeth Hiyolwa


NKURENKURU – Kavango West health director Fransiska Hamutenya has expressed concern about the non-compliance of the Covid-19 regulations by members of the public.  

She stated that the protocols put in place to curb the possibility of further spread of the virus seem to be taken lightly by the public. 

“Our challenges in terms of the epidemiology is mainly the non-adherence to protocol, as people in self-isolation and self-quarantine are encouraged not to move, but people are still moving,” she highlighted. 

The other integral issue raised by the director is that of lack of human resource, stating that, “We have a shortage of nurses, doctors, cleaners and drivers”.

Hamutenya added the region is understaffed as it stands, making it difficult to operate smoothly. 

“The region, at this stage, has 60 vacancies for registered nurses. We have 35 vacancies for enrolled nurses and we only have four medical officers within the government, plus one doctor recruited by the Community Development Committee,” she stressed.

She indicated there is a need for one more doctor, two mortuary attendants, four drivers and 10 cleaners to reduce the current workload at the isolation facility.

The director also indicated that some patients tend to report late to the health centres – and as a result, they fail to get the required assistance and treatment or even die at home. 

Hamutenya also pointed out other challenges brought about by the increase of Covid-19 cases, which have been rising rapidly recently.

Challenges vary from not having a backup generator at the isolation facility to casket lowering devices and limited quarantine facilities, among others. 

The director indicated that transportation for health workers, including outreach teams who need to raise awareness in communities, is a burden for the team. 

She indicated that they have recommended to be assisted in mitigating these needs. 

“At least, if we can be assisted with one more ambulance, a minibus for transportation of staff, a mortuary vehicle as well as a double cab or at least two for the staff,” Hamutenya pleaded.

Mortuary space has also been identified as a challenge by the director, as only Nankundu and Mpungu mortuaries are operational – but with limited space available. 

“We are recommending for the repair of the Nkurenkuru Health Centre so it can be upgraded to accommodate nine bodies and to be used for Covid-19,” she recommended. 

This will also reduce the risk of further spread, as staff members will not have to travel 20km to Nankundu to take the bodies from the isolation centre, which is based in Nkurenkuru. 

By 26 July, the ministry of health’s daily Covid-19 statistics showed that only 3 395 people in the region have received their first dose of the vaccine and only 783 have received both doses.

2021-07-29  Staff Reporter

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