Over the years, the influx of patients seeking medical attention at Katutura Intermediate Hospital and other State facilities has increased dramatically, as the frequency of chronic disease and trauma incidents have increased significantly, according to nurses at the hospital.
“When we started in this profession there was not so much of an influx of patients as is the case now. The influx of patients is a lot, while the nurses are never enough,” said Nurse Julia Ilovu, who has worked at Katutura Intermediate Hospital since 1981.
Ilovu, who spoke to New Era yesterday, said the situation is so dire that one nurse works with 10 to 15 patients at a time. This, she says, is as a result of the increase in case of chronic disease and trauma involving victims of accidents and incidents, such as stab wounds.
“These days we attend to trauma cases on a daily basis, especially on weekends,” Ilovu said. She attributes this increase in the burden of disease and trauma cases largely to alcohol consumption.
In addition, many patients wait until they are critically ill before seeking medical attention, Ilovu said.
“People used to comply with their medical prescriptions, but nowadays they don’t,” she added Ilovu, noting that some patients only take their medications when they are very sick and many do not return for follow-ups, as required.
“Some patients come and seek help when they are really critical and sometimes there is very little that we can do for them,” she explained.
In addition, she mentioned the lack of respect shown by some patients towards nurses and other medical personnel, as a major challenge.
Makoanyame Rafael Makupu, a registered nurse, who first worked at Katutura State Hospital in 1980 added that other than many patients defaulting their medications, some family members of patients often want to interfere with the patients’ treatment by questioning the procedure.
Besides the difficulty of patients giving grief to medical personnel at the hospital, Makupu feels that the “passion for nursing has gone done”.
“If you want to do this you have to do it with your whole heart. Nursing is a calling and nurses must have a passion for taking care of people. I’ve got the passion and I feel I’m really doing what I’m supposed to do,” Makupu added.