Northern hospitals’ congestion affects other facilities

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-The northern district hospitals continue to be marred by a lack of specialists, leaving Oshakati, Windhoek Central and Katutura hospitals congested with referrals.

During the four first months of the year, Oshakati hospital received 2 983 referrals from the surrounding district hospitals, while Windhoek received about 1 000 patients.

Between May and December last year, Windhoek received over 16 000 referrals to both Windhoek Central and Katutura hospitals.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, said the shipping of patients over a distance of 700km is costly and reflects poor management.

Haufiku said the exercise is not efficient as it isolates patients from their families.
“If nothing is done, it will just get worse and worse,” said Haufiku.

Equally, the minister said that while shipping of patients is a concern, there is also not enough space to accommodate patients referred to the Windhoek hospitals.

Haufiku was speaking at a consultative meeting with health professionals at Ongwediva on Thursday last week.

The consultations aim to seek solutions to the problems of service delivery in the health sector especially in the northern regions, where many of the patients referred to Windhoek come from.

The meeting also sought to deliberate on the possibility of putting up a referral hospital in the north.

Haufiku said there is a need to find ways to decongest referral hospitals and in the process improve service delivery in the health sector.

The minister said the “monster project” would concurrently run with capacitating clinics, health centres and district hospitals to avoid further congestion at the envisaged hospital and others in the country.

The capacitation process will include making specialists and needed medical equipment available at district hospitals to cut the distance travelled by patients to referral hospitals.

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