MoHSS addressing shortage of beds in hospitals: Kamwi

WINDHOEK: Health and Social Services Minister Richard Kamwi has assured Namibians that the shortage of beds and ambulances at State hospitals is being addressed.

This comes after he was questioned by SWANU president and Member of Parliament Usutuaije Maamberua in the National Assembly on 10 June 2014 about relentless complaints by the public against the management of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS).

Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, Kamwi said the capacity of most State hospitals can no longer accommodate the sky-rocketing number of patients being admitted, and the space for beds has become very limited as well.

He said the specification of beds being supplied under the current contract is outdated, which prompted his ministry to approach the Tender Board to request for two tenders with revised specifications in order to manufacture and supply hospital beds as directed by various ailments of patients.

“The tenders to the suppliers have already been awarded a few weeks ago, with 1 567 beds procured and distributed to health facilities countrywide, including those at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital,” Kamwi said.

He added that about 100 beds were procured earlier this year and distributed to the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital, Opuwo District Hospital, Omuthiya District Hospital and the Windhoek Central Hospital.

“The new suppliers are expected to replace old beds with new specialised beds, and repair some of the old beds which still conform to the current criteria. However, the supply of beds to health facilities will be conducted in stages depending on the pressing needs,” he said.

The Health Minister noted that the procurement process is lengthy because it should conform to applicable laws and procedures and at the same time, the Tender Board supervises the goods supplied to ensure adherence to the appropriate standards.

On Maamberua’s question regarding when the technical conversion of vehicles used by the MoHSS as ambulances will take place, Kamwi said about 45 vehicles have already been converted to ambulances and the tender to install life-saving equipment in the vehicles was recently advertised by the Tender Board.

“The ministry has approached the Tender Board for an annual tender which it has already approved for the purpose of supplying ambulances to health facilities that are suitable for the various contrasts and terrains of the country,” he said.