Onandjokwe Student Nurses Face Challenges

STUDENT nurses at the Onandjokwe Lutheran Church Hospital are facing many challenges among them irregular power supplies, food shortages, and crumbling infrastructure, which have made their learning more difficult.

The nurses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they experience irregular power supply because the small main switch cannot cope with the huge demand, especially when students prepare meals.

They said the kitchen was closed years ago and thus they have to cook food in their rooms next to their beds. This is despite the fact that most of the rooms do not have cables and plugs. The condition of the hostels has also deteriorated, with broken ceiling boards and holes in the walls.

In addition, the student nurses said they do not receive any allowances either from government or the church and they have to buy their own food and cater for other needs.

Of the 10 toilets that are meant to cater for more than 80 students, only five are working. The others broke down a long time ago and have not been repaired. The students claim that although they have asked the hospital administrator to repair the toilets, no effort has been made to do so. Apart from the toilets, out of the 10 shower facilities available, only six are in working order. Student nurses also complained of the tall grass at the hospital school grounds, which makes it difficult for them to move around safely during the night for fear of snakes. To make it worse, the students said, there are no lights at the hospital school grounds.

“We have reported this situation to the authorities and held numerous meetings with management, but nothing has been done. That is why we decided to go to the media to expose the situation,” the nurses said.

The nursing school manager, John Lumbu, could neither confirm nor deny the challenges last week, but referred The Namibian to the Oshikoto regional director of health, Petrus Angala.

Angala admitted there were problems at the nursing school, which he blamed on lack of adequate funding.

“We know about the suffering of the student nurses at Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital.

The problem is (the lack of) money. My office and the Ministry of Health and Social Services are discussing the matter with the Onandjokwe Hospital management. We are close to finding a solution,” Angala said.

Source : The Namibian