20 Oct 2014 11:50am
KEETMANSHOOP, 20 OCT (NAMPA) Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi visited various health facilities in the //Karas Region over three days last week.
The visit to the region ended with a meeting with staff, nursing students and community leaders in Keetmanshoop on Friday.
During the gathering, Kamwi highlighted the successes of his ministry throughout the years and also addressed specific matters relating to health facilities and programmes in //Karas.
Last Wednesday, Kamwi opened a voluntary counselling and testing facility at Aus sponsored by the Anglo-American Foundation. He also visited the State hospitals at Lüderitz and Karasburg in addition to the Aussenkehr Clinic.
The minister told the meeting the Lüderitz District Hospital was an exceptional model which should be emulated by all health facilities. He said the hospital was spotless; patient care excellent; staff complement sufficient; and medical supplies adequate.
This he said, was in stark contrast to the overcrowded, understaffed, and scant Aussenkehr Clinic which had been struggling with local demand for health care.
On the day of my visit, there were 501 patients at this small clinic that only has two nurses, Kamwi said. He boasted that with his senior medical personnel in Keetmanshoop, they immediately responded by sending three more nurses to Aussenkehr with urgent plans to address the infrastructure problems at the clinic.
He commended the Keetmanshoop Hospital staff for maintaining a clean, hygienic facility and promised that by 2018, the centre will be a fully-fledged referral hospital.
During the meeting, Kamwi addressed various concerns raised by tribal chiefs present regarding the yet-to-be completed Keetmanshoop Tuberculosis (TB) facility; lack of anti-retroviral medication (ARVs); and the questionable training of future Namibian doctors in China.
He admitted that the TB clinic inauguration was delayed and blamed the contractor, QE Construction cc. He said generally, all related problems throughout the country were due to bureaucracy and poor workmanship by contractors.
He said all ARV stock shortages throughout the country have now solved.
Regarding the students, Kamwi said neither the Health Ministry nor the Ministry of Education was responsible for the medical students with low Grade 12 points now studying in China. He warned that they may not qualify for accreditation to practice in Namibia upon completion of their studies.
Current health challenges in Namibia include maternal and child healthcare and non-communicable diseases such as cancers, heart and respiratory problems.
Kamwi advocated for lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and following a healthy diet, and added that the Health Ministry was now training hundreds of extension workers to assist health facilities in reaching pregnant mothers.