• August 24th, 2019
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Nurses drowning in sea of patients

WINDHOEK – More than 781 713 patients were seen at various state health facilities in Windhoek from March 2017 to April last year, which is nearly double the area’s catchment population of 410 918.

This, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Services, was indicative of overcrowding at public health facilities in Windhoek – and potentially countrywide.

In a recent interview with New Era the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, said the figures explain the long queues and long waiting hours patients have to endure. 
This also means that staff experience burnout, observed the permanent secretary. 
The queues at public health facilities is as a result of a number of factors, said Nangombe. 

“The population in Windhoek is constantly growing but the staff establishment is outdated and inadequate. The overcrowding really is more in urban areas and peri-urban areas and that is a function of migration to urban areas. Although we have a proposed new staff establishment it is not approved yet,” said the permanent secretary. 
Moreover, the expansion of health programmes which the Ministry of Health and Social Services is implementing in clinics is increasing and this means that the number of staff needed is more, explained Nangombe. 

 “The population of Windhoek has increased significantly over the past few years and we haven’t really had a situation where we have built big public health facilities in the region. There are some clinics that were built in recent years – for example, the Nathaniel Maxuilili Health Centre is a fairly new facility. 

It’s also a function of shortage of staff. We cannot deny the fact that we don’t have all the human resources that we need to operate at our health centres,” said Nangombe. 

Making reference to statistics, Nangombe said out of the eleven clinics and two health centres in the Khomas Region, some facilities do not have a resident doctor. Baumgartsbrun clinic has one nurse, no doctors and no radiographers. Donkerhoek clinic has eight nurses and no doctors or radiographers.

Dordabis clinic has two nurses and occasional outreach doctors and no radiographers. Groot Aub clinic has four nurses and no doctors, while Hakahana clinic has eight nurses and no doctors or radiographers. Khomasdal clinic has eleven nurses, two doctors and no radiographers. 

Maxwilili Health Centre has 12 nurses, one doctor and no radiographers, Okuryangava clinic has 15 nurses, two doctors and no radiographers. Otjomuise clinic has nine nurses and no doctors and no radiographers. 
Wanaheda clinic has nine nurses and no doctors and no radiographers.  The Katutura Health Centre has 31 nurses, seven doctors and one radiographer assistant. 

“Although we have indicated the number of staff in certain facilities, some have been pulled from the staff establishment at other facilities in order to best meet the need of the staff-to-patient ratio and expansion of programmes,” explained Nangombe. 

He added: “But, we must appreciate the fact that we have trained nurses and doctors that we want to employ as soon as we get that approval from the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Finance to release funds for us to be able to do that.” 

Alvine Kapitako
2019-01-09 09:48:58 7 months ago

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