Katutura Hospital Finally Being Spruced Up

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Visiting a patient at the Katutura State Hospital has become a nightmare for members of the public, who are complaining about the many problems. Apart from the horrible scenes of injured people at the emergency unit, most of them with stab wounds and others with injuries as a result of car accidents, the hospital itself is not a pleasant place to visit, let alone to be admitted, say some members of the public. The ground floor is usually dark, overcrowded, smelly, hot and humid, with most of the lights and the air-conditioning out of order. Add to that the blood stains on the floor, the Katutura State Hospital ground floor becomes a perfect scene for a horror movie. Mindful of the state of the hospital, Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi informed parliament on Thursday that this will all change as a result of the renovations underway at the hospital. The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, which is responsible for maintenance, is already in phase seven of the project. “This phase mainly addresses electrical mechanical problems such as air-conditioning.” The minister said water reticulation systems in priority areas such as the Operating Theatre Complex and X-ray Department will also be addressed. “The existing water chiller air-conditioning will be upgraded and modernized.” Concerning the cleanliness of the hospital, Kamwi said the hospital’s management has recently embarked on a massive clean-up programme. “Cleaning materials worth N$80ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 were purchased in the current financial year and six additional cleaners will be transferred from other facilities to the Katutura Hospital.” The minister also appealed to the general public to assist in keeping the hospitals clean. He said food stored in patients’ lockers attracts cockroaches and other insects which will always find the crumbs and left-over food. At this point, DTA of Namibia’s President Katuutire Kaura asked Kamwi why there were no cockroaches at the private hospitals. The question clearly upset Kamwi, who responded by saying that he did not expect Members of Parliament to ask such kinds of questions. “I wish to advise the honourable member not to compare the Medi-Clinic, Rhino Park and Catholic hospitals with Katutura Hospital, because those hospitals are private and the cost related to services differs immensely for one to suggest a comparison.” The minister also answered questions from the Congress of Democrats (CoD) MP Elma Dienda about the number of ambulances and the issue of Kenyan nurses. Kamwi informed the House that the ministry has a total of 102 ambulances assigned to the 13 regions of the country. Omusati has the largest number at 13, followed by Ohangwena at 10 and Erongo 12. The Kavango, Karas and Oshana have nine each, while Kunene, Khomas and Oshikoto have six each. The Hardap and Caprivi have five each, while Omaheke has the lowest with four. The minister said Kenyan nurses are appointed on two-year contracts like other foreign nationals and their conditions of service are the same as their Namibian counterparts. They are appointed at the entry level with a minimum notch of N$80ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 280 per year and a maximum of N$91ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 968 per year.