Minister Shocked At Onandjokwe’s Sorry State

THE minister of health, Bernhard Haufiku, who is on a familiarisation tour of the Oshikoto region, was shocked at the dilapidated state of the Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital.

The hospital that is more than a 100 years old, is run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia but receives funding from government. Currently, the institution receives N$193 million annually to cover running costs, including salaries that are said to be taking up about N$160 million of the budget.

Haufiku was shocked to see that the walls have cracks and the ceilings have holes, while the toilets for staff as well as for patients are not functioning.

Apart from its dilapidated state, the hospital needs general medical officers, specialist nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, pharmacists and orthopaedics.

Head of the paediatrics department, Dr Sifelani Mthombeni told Haufiku that the hospital, confirmed as a referral centre in 2010 and serving 81 099 people according to the 2011 census, needs to have 66 doctors and at least 400 nurses.

Currently, Mthombeni told Haufiku, there are 20 general medical officers, two surgeons, one obstetrician and a gynaecologist, a specialist physician and an anaesthetist.

He further said there are 125 registered nurses and 124 enrolled nurses, a dentist and a pharmacist, although there are 12 health facilities, eight clinics, three health centres and 48 outreach points under the institution.

According to Mthombeni, the average working week for a doctor is 80 hours and in some instances doctors can work for up to 14 days without taking a break.

Haufiku said the big challenges at Onandjokwe are space and new facilities, but he was impressed by the good spirit and courage among the health workers, especially the nurses.

He blamed the management for turning a blind eye while the hospital falls apart. The minister directed the management to get quotations and renovate the hospital, especially the toilets.

The minister expressed great disappointment on hearing that things like blankets, bed linen, clothes, sewing machines, shoes, and other materials had been removed from the hospital’s general stores and put in the church stores because of the belief that government will take over the hospital soon and buy new stuff.

Haufiku urged the hospital management to take care of vehicles at all times.

Source : The Namibian