Faulty anaesthetic and autoclave machines as well as improper electrical wiring has caused a delay in Omuthiya Hospital fully functioning as a district hospital.
The N$70 million hospital, donated by the People’s Republic of China, has not been operating as a health centre since it opened its doors in 2013.
During President Hage Geingob’s visit to the hospital on Monday, it emerged that the hospital’s anaesthetic and autoclave machines could not be used because the instructions on the machines contain Chinese characters making it difficult for locals to read the instructions on how to use the machines.
Oshikoto Health Director Petrus Cefas Angala said attempts were made to get foreign medical staff, through the Chinese Embassy, to come and orientate the local staff, however even those who came “did not know how to use them”, said Angala in a telephonic interview on Tuesday.
Angala further related that the machines were inspected by two medical experts who advised the hospital not to use them as they allegedly pose a threat to human life.
Currently, the hospital only overnights patients under observation. Operations and admissions are referred to Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital.
Angala said the referral of patients to Onandjokwe Hospital is putting a strain on the personnel of the hospital.
“The personnel want to work, but there is no equipment and our people are losing experience through the process,” said Angala.
Angala said the matter has since been referred to higher authority at the national level for new machines to be procured.
Another pressing issue at the hospital is the electrical wiring. According to Angala the wiring at the hospital should also be rectified before any operations are performed.
“It does not help to have all the equipment if the wiring is faulty, because should the electrical workings fail during an operation the patient can die,” said Angala.
Three ambulances were also donated by the Chinese government, however they are not utilized because they are not suitable for the area and weather in Omuthiya.
President Geingob who was shocked by the discovery appealed to the hospital management to take up the matter with the line ministry.
The official opening of the district hospital will depend on when other functioning machines are procured.