Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku says he and the minister of works and transport, as well as the minister of defence, are looking at the possibility transporting critically ill patients from the district hospitals to Windhoek by Lear jet.
Haufiku said he already consulted his colleagues, Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus !Naruseb and Minister of Defence Penda ya Ndakolo on the issue and they are both supportive of the proposal.
Haufiku says they want to start with mothers who experience pregnancy complications so that they can be flown by Lear jet from the district Hospitals to Windhoek.
He further said they want the minister of defence to allocate them a helicopter to transport patients from Tsumkwe or Gam to Grootfontein hospitals and also for referral patients to be flown to Rundu from Katima Mulilo.
In Opuwo, transportation of nurses by the helicopter from Opuwo to the remote area of Onyuva is needed. The nurses spend at least about two weeks to Onyuva and the helicopter could be used, especially during the rainy season.
The health minister said they want the Lear jet to be put into service for hospital emergencies and a submission is being prepared for Cabinet’s approval. Haufiku hopes the relevant ministries will implement the plan as soon as possible, perhaps as early as the festive season or by start of January 2017.
During an interview with New Era at Lüderitz on Saturday Dr Haufiku said they have completed the second outreach programme at Lüderitz State Hospital. Specialist doctors arrived in Lüderitz last Monday as part of the Ministry of Health and Social Services’s medical outreach programme.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services will continue with the outreach programme, with the main aim of providing medical attention to the people in remote areas, instead of obliging patients to travel to Windhoek to seek medical help, which will in turn reduce the number of patients being referred to the State hospital in Windhoek.
It is the second time the specialists have been deployed in //Karas this year after they were also sent there in February. The full team consists of a medical officer, a general surgeon, an orthopaedic surgeon and a gynaecological surgeon, who between them attended to more than 100 patients.
Haufiku operated on 35 patients within two days, removing tonsils. He said there were no complications in any of the medical procedures and that all his patients were discharged.
He further said the exercise was also intended to build confidence in district health services, and he hoped it would further strengthen their efforts to bring services closer to the people.