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Court fines Shoprite for breaching strike order

Written by on April 11, 2024

Zambezi region acting health director Yolanda Lisho says the region records between one and four referral deaths on a monthly basis.

Patients in need of emergency specialised care are being referred to either Windhoek or Rundu, as Katima Mulilo District Hospital lacks the medical expertise some patients require.

Lisho revealed this last Thursday.

She said the hospital has no choice but to refer emergency cases to other regions, even if patients have to travel over 1 200km to get the treatment they need.

In some cases patients either die upon arrival or on their way to referral hospitals.

“We refer all complicated surgical cases, such as bowel obstructions, complicated gynaecological and maternity cases, abnormalities in newborns, head injuries and fractures to these referral hospitals.

“At the moment, the district hospital only has one specialist in anaesthesia. These referrals are due to the fact that we don’t have specialists in surgery, orthopaedics, urology and gynaecology,” Lisho said.

She said plans are underway to upgrade Katima Mulilo District Hospital to become a fully fledged intermediate hospital; however, the directorate is hampered by budget constraints, though some progress has been made.

“The staff establishment is done, which is why we started with the recruitment process. Additional services are in the process. We have so far completed the advanced neonatal unit, high-care ward, emergency response centre, and a 16-bed isolation facility within the hospital.

“In our master plan, we also want to expand the infrastructure. Soon we will have a 30-bed isolation field hospital, an upgraded dental unit, and the addition of a dialysis unit,” she said.

Lisho said the biggest challenge the directorate is faced with is the lack of skilled personnel to manage patients, and recruiting specialists is difficult as they are scarce.

“We have an urgent need to recruit and strengthen the staff complement in the following fields: surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics/neonatology and family medicine,” she said.

During a recent meeting president Nangolo Mbumba had with the Masubia, Mafwe, Mashi and Mayeyi traditional authorities, the traditional leaders raised concerns over residents being reffered to other towns when emergencies arise.

Masubia Traditional Authority chief Albius Kamwi said residents who are seriously injured or sick are subjected to travelling long distances for their lives to be saved.

“We have lost a number of patients who could not make it to Rundu or Windhoek, because they were too weak or in a critical condition. Your excellency, this region is the gateway to southern African neighbouring countries, hence there is a need for a vibrant medical facility for both locals and tourists passing through the region.

“We humbly request that this issue be taken up with the seriousness it deserves. The Trans-Zambezi highway has claimed too many lives that could have been saved if we had dependable medical facilities in the region,” he said.

Mafwe Traditional Authority spokesperson Eustus Mbanga pleaded for the government to not only upgrade Katima Mulilo District Hospital, but also Chinchimane Clinic.

He said the release of a recent preliminary census report shows the region’s population has increased, requiring more healthcare facilities.

Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu recently said it is concerning that Katima Mulilo District Hospital has not been upgraded to an intermediate hospital.

He said people are dying as a result.

“Katima Mulilo District Hospital is very small to cater for the growing population demands. Our people are suffering, and we are losing a lot of lives during referrals to either Rundu, Oshakati, or Windhoek.

“It is not that they are dying of disease; they are dying because of the exhaustion of being transferred. Therefore, we need an intermediate hospital and for our healthcare centres to become district hospitals,” he said.

Questions sent to executive director of health and social services Ben Nangombe went unanswered.

The post Court fines Shoprite for breaching strike order appeared first on The Namibian.

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