THE dismal state of the Katutura State Hospital will soon be a thing of the past as the Minister of Health and Social Services has announced that the hospital will receive much needed renovations this year.
This was revealed on Friday when President Hage Geingob made a surprise visit to inspect the Katutura referral hospital following pictures on social media showing flooded floors following heavy rain showers.
In his address, Geingob stated that he has heard different accounts from the media on the state of the hospital and decided to do an announced “on the spot inspection.”
“This is the beginning of a pattern. You hear all sorts of things from the media, if you plan the visit, people try to clean up and show you only the clean spaces,” the President said.
Geingob, who was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, as well as the Executive Director of health, Ben Nangombe, and senior medical staff, viewed different floors of the hospital and raised concerns about the lack of beds to accommodate mothers who are visiting their sick children, as well as the general state of the building and the availability of basic services at the hospital such as food and water.
In his report to Geingob, Shangula stated that renovations for the hospital have been budgeted for the next financial year 2020/2021, which will focus on waterproofing the roof, plumbing, and drainage systems on respective floors.
He added that the renovations will be done through a competitive process.
Shangula further stated that the hospital is currently facing staff shortages and an additional 300 medical staff positions will be filled at the hospital to help improve service delivery at the hospital.
The superintendent of the hospital informed Geingob that the state hospital currently has a good relationship with the private sector as patients are sometimes treated at other private medical facilities when the hospital cannot treat the patients due to resource shortages.
“At central hospital we have an Intensive Care Unit with 7 beds. This is sometimes not enough as there are more patients that come in with critical conditions, however, if there is a bed lacking, we send patients to other hospitals and the bill is charged to the state hospital, so no patient is left out,” the superintendent said.
Adding to this, Shangula stated that the Paediatrician Unit, as well as the accommodation units, will also be upgraded. He further stated that government plans to construct another district hospital in the Khomas region.
Health executive director, Nangombe reverberated the minister’s words, and noted that more attention needs to be paid especially to the maternity ward as the population has grown and the current capacity of the maternity ward can only accommodate 100 people.
“The average influx of patients is 67% more annually. Instead of sending people back, we give them mattresses, however, now we are looking at building a district hospital in the Khomas region to deal with this issue,” Nangombe said.
It was further stated that the ministry of health will closely work with graduates from the Namibia Training Authority to help renovate the hospital.