Oshakati hospital’s oxygen system broken

17 June 2021 | Health



Oshakati State Hospital’s oxygen system is not functional, leaving the hospital to depend on cylinders to support patients.

With all wards now full, the hospital relies solely on the cylinders, with each lasting for about three hours for one patient.

By Tuesday, Namibia had recorded 67 021 Covid-19 infections and 1 008 deaths, while only 15 999 people have been fully vaccinated. On the same day, the country had 406 people hospitalised for the virus, 79 of whom were in intensive care units, while 26 were in high care.

Namibian Sun reported last week that the hospital has for weeks been unable to handle theatre cases which need general aenesthesia. The hospital is yet to get an oxygen tank supply. Oshikuku hospital has also been assisting Oshakati with cases which cannot wait.

The dire situation has forced families to call hospitals around the country to secure a spot for patients needing oxygen.

Oshana regional health director Johanna Haimene yesterday referred Namibian Sun to the head office for answers as “this is now a national issue”.

No choice

Meanwhile, health minister Kalumbi Shangula on Wednesday told Namibian Sun that the cylinders are not a long-lasting solution, but the ministry has no choice as they need to keep people alive.

He also pointed out that this will be a costly exercise for the ministry and they fear the cylinders running out as they are already running low.

“The providers are not coping. Imagine some of them are telling us they will solve the issue in six weeks when we need the oxygen as in yesterday,” he lamented.

The minister begged Namibians to get vaccinated, saying the system is overwhelmed and the best solution for now is for one to avoid coming near to hospitals. He said the ministry is working around the clock to solve the crisis.

“We cannot have people dying because of oxygen shortage. That is unacceptable.”

Shangula further said Namibians should stop behaving as if everything is normal.

“It is one thing to catch the virus knowing you have tried by all means not to, rather than to live recklessly,” he said.

Protect yourself, and others

Oshakati hospital medical superintendent Asumani Kibandwa said people should stop saying that the vaccine prevents the virus as that has never been the case.

He said the vaccination is to reduce the risk of being infected, which means one protects themselves and others.

He added that the vaccine also reduces one’s risk of becoming seriously sick and being hospitalised or being connected to mechanical ventilators.

“Vaccination reduces your chances of dying. Reduces the burden on the health system and improves the socioeconomic situation of the country,” Kibandwa said.

He also shared the same sentiments as Shangula that the vaccination will improve the general health of the public after reaching herd immunity in the country.

“Once everyone is vaccinated, this facilitates and speeds up the process of getting back to the normal way of living,” he stressed.

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