Windhoek-The health clinic at Gibeon is in dire need of additional nursing staff, as it currently has a catchment population of 6,215 people, but only four nurses to attend to them.
The worrying revelation is contained in a report tabled in the National Assembly recently that was compiled by the parliamentary standing committee on information, communication technology and innovation.
The committee visited Khomas, //Karas and Hardap regions to assess healthcare facilities and services in those areas. The Members of Parliament on the committee include Faustina Caley (chairperson), Rebecca Nakale-Ipinge (vice chairperson) and two other members of the ICT committee, namely Nora Munsu and Lusia Munjeku Nghaamwa.
The report says Gibeon Health Clinic receives about 50 sick patients per day, among other reasons for HIV and ARV, Tuberculosis (TB) treatment, for immunisation, daily wound dressings, as well as prenatal care.
The main concern raised by MPs was the fact that the clinic is too small and cannot accommodate the number of sick patients that attend the clinic per day.
Moreover, there is no privacy when screening patients, as two nurses work in one consulting room.
The MPs recommended that patients with HIV/AIDS and TB be allocated special rooms to preserve confidentiality and that the doctor visiting the clinic also be assigned a consulting room.
Another burning issue highlighted in the report was the lack of transport for patients, who may need to be transferred to other health centres. The MPs said trauma cases, emergencies blood transfusions, TB sputum tests and maternity cases are often delayed by three to four days while they wait for an ambulance from Mariental.
The MPs noted that at times the nurses have to request police assistance for transport purposes to attend to emergencies at the clinic.
“The community has donated an ambulance to curb this frustration, but it is currently parked at Mariental District Hospital due to Treasury approval that is in the process.”
“When a nurse is on leave, or attending a workshop, the attending nurses must work long hours and during the night,” the report also indicates.
Despite the challenges the four nurses endure, the committee recorded notable success stories at Gibeon Health Centre.
The clinic managed to roll out effective mother-to-child transmission services with no case of babies on ARV and Nevirapin, while TB patients are treated in a separate room to avoid infection.
Further, the MPs gathered that the clinic uses a telephone line, a mobile phone and fax machine as means of communication and for emergency purposes.
They also noted that the clinic had received computers to capture patient data, but staff members were unable to use them as they still need to be installed.
The committee recommended that government increase the annual budget for regional offices to carry out proposed health programmes, including outreach work.
They also called for the integration of e-health services throughout all health facilities by extending ICT services to all regions, especially services such as tele-medicine, conferencing facilities and capturing of patient records.
They also recommended that medical officials and staff be trained in the efficient use of ICT equipment, as the committee had observed that most health centres had computers that were not utilised.