Shangula takes stock of Kavango West health woes

13 September 2019 | Health

The Kavango West Region is battling with a lack of health facilities and abandoned projects that have become white elephants while thousands of inhabitants are in need of healthcare services.

Yesterday health minister Kalumbi Shangula visited some of the incomplete government projects that have been lying idle for years, as well as the dilapidated health facilities in Kavango West.

Among these were the Nkurenkuru Primary Healthcare Centre, which has been in limbo for more than three years, and the planned Nkurenkuru District Hospital, which is yet to get off the ground.

Shangula also visited the Nankudu District Hospital, which has a broken X-ray machine and a mortuary that regularly experiences breakdowns.

The radiographic computer has been unable to print X-ray images since April last year, which means that the hospital has to send the files to Rundu, 120 kilometres away.

According to the hospital's radiographic assistant, Alina Angombe, who briefed the minister and his delegation, the files are sent to Rundu only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Angombe said the problem was reported to the ministry last year but they received no feedback.

She told the minister that she had tried her best to get the machine working but upon inspecting the machine, it was found that the X-ray plates had expired in 2017.

During informal discussions it was said that the ministry head office simply had to approve the repairs, and it was unclear why it was taking more than a year to solve the problem.

Regarding the mortuary, the minister was informed that it was breaking down twice a week, forcing the hospital to rely on facilities at other hospitals as far away as Rundu.

The hospital building is in a dilapidated state, with broken light fixtures and peeling paint everywhere.

At the construction site of the long-awaited Nkurenkuru District Hospital, Shangula witnessed how a boundary fence which had cost the government close to N$6 million has been vandalised.

Shangula expressed concern about the vandalism but did not comment on the project's lack of progress.

In May, the ministry told Namibian Sun that the feasibility study for the construction of the Nkurenkuru District Hospital had been finalised.

“The ministry is compiling new standards and norms of hospitals and these are being used to re-modify the feasibility for the designated hospital to be responsive to the needs of a modern hospital.

“These standards have to do with patient flow, the outpatient department, casualty, the wards and other diagnostic services so that all district hospitals have a similar standard. Therefore, once this is finalised, full design will be commissioned,” the ministry said.



KENYA KAMBOWE

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