The health ministry has suspended all non-emergency referral patients from regions to the Central and Katutura intermediate hospitals in order to decongest the two state facilities to accommodate Covid-19 patients.
Windhoek Central Hospital’s senior medical superintendent Dr David Uirab said the hospitals were overwhelmed due to the sharp increase in Covid-19 positive cases.
“The beds are fully booked and we need to decongest them. All the cases that can be able to wait are fully suspended. Only emergency and urgent operations will be performed in our theatres until further notice,” said Uirab. “For example, a woman with a small growth on the womb can be operated on after four months and a man who needs to be circumcised due to some health problem can also wait.” Last week, health executive director Ben Nangombe confirmed Namibia’s third wave of the pandemic, as it experienced a sharp surge in cases over the last few days. The country yesterday reported 385 new Covid-19 infections, 358 recoveries and eight deaths. The Khomas region accounted for 40% of new infections yesterday. Nangombe last week also indicated there is an increase in the number of admissions of Covid-19 patients, which places additional pressure on the capacity of the existing oxygen supply infrastructure. About 63 patients require intensive care countrywide, while 315 are hospitalised with Covid-19. The defence ministry has also deployed its military isolation facility to the Windhoek Central Hospital to accommodate Covid-19 patients. Since Saturday, the military hospital has accommodated eight patients, including four who require a ventilator. A registered nurse Lydia Kandume, who is in charge of the military isolation facility, said the facility has three rooms, of which one is an emergency room which also serves as a suspect room and the male and female room. “So far as of Saturday, we have received eight patients of which four are on oxygen. Three male and a female are on oxygen while others are on-air room. We are currently receiving patients who are slightly critical and required oxygen below five litres because we have no ventilators at the centre at the moment,” she explained. She added that so far, the centre has 23 oxygen cylinders and four staff who are deployed to work day and night shifts. Kandume stated all the patients admitted there are from the hospitals’ respiratory units. The ministry has increased the number of beds at the Windhoek Central Hospital’s respiratory unit from 68 to 74, as well as created additional physical spaces in other hospitals to cater for the situation.
Meanwhile, Nangombe has urged people who have not yet been vaccinated to do so as the ministry has vaccination points across the country. Vaccination is available to anyone over the age of 18 as it is important to protect those who are older, or who have underlying health conditions. The health ministry has set up independent Covid-19 units with deployed dedicated staff for three to six months, including the newly recruited staff.