Family seeks answers over minor’s death

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-Health Minister Bernhard Haufiku is expected to have a press conference this morning to address, amongst others, the death of a three-year-old girl that died at Katutura State Hospital where she was treated after being bitten by a dog.

Her family says the girl, Mweneni du Plessis, was given an injection at the hospital and died soon after, but nurses refused to reveal the whereabouts of her medical passport. Du Plessis’ father, Matheus Nekwiyu, said his daughter was not sick nor was she taking any medicine at the time.

“It is suspicious that the nurses are hiding her medical passport. What did they do wrong?” asked Du Plessis’ aunt, Toini Shilongo, whose house the girl was visiting when she was attacked by the dog.

Mweneni attended Anemone crèche in Khomasdal and was affectionately called ‘Skapie’ (‘little lamb’) at home. She was attacked by a dog and bitten below her ankle while in the company of her aunt, Estella Shimoneni, as they walked along Hans Dietrich Genscher Street in Shandumbala on Thursday morning.

Shimoneni immediately took the child to Katutura Hospital, where a doctor who attended to the girl said her condition was stable. Shimoneni further said the doctor recommended that Du Plessis gets injected against rabies.

The two proceeded to a student nurse who then injected the little girl once on both upper arms. Shimoneni said the student nurse was not under any supervision. She said her niece managed to walk out of the hospital and then told Shimoneni that she wanted to sleep.

The girl did not look well and had problems breathing after that, the family said. Shilongo said when they arrived back at the hospital Mweneni was still alive and the doctor had put her on oxygen and intravenous drip.

“The doctor told us they did all they could do to assist her, but could not save her. She passed away at the hospital about 12h40,” Shilongo said, adding that the family has been been told that an internal investigation into the matter has been launched at the hospital.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Ester Paulus said there will be a press conference today where Minister Haufiku will address a number of issues, including the minor’s untimely death.

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