17 Jul 2015 13:30pm
RUNDU, 17 JUL (NAMPA) - Dozens of stray cats that roam the halls of the Rundu State Hospital at night have become a nuisance for patients there.
The problem has gotten so bad that cats can be seen sleeping on empty beds at night.
The hospital serves as a lifeline for the Kavango East and West regions.
Concerned patients told Nampa on Monday that the stray cats infiltrate the wards and halls, especially at night, looking for trash discarded by visitors and patients.
The cats come out mostly at night and are rarely seen during the day. If you do see them during the day you will spot maybe one or two, but at night a mob of cats swamp the hospital, a worried patient said.
She said complaints to nurses have yielded no results, adding that the nurses do not even attempt to chase the cats away.
I was admitted with my son recently and I can remember in the ward where we slept there was a patient who was very afraid of the cats. I experienced this because my son was really disturbed too, she said.
The patient said even though the cats might not be dangerous, something must be done as the cats pose a health hazard. She said it also does not look good for a health establishment to be overrun by cats.
Approached for comment, the hospitals Chief Medical Officer, Dr Yuri Yangazov said the cats do not necessarily pose a danger to humans. He said they are lured to the hospital by the food thrown away by patients and visitors.
He said the cats come from all over Rundu and is a challenge for the hospital as they struggle to remove the cats.
First of all you cannot poison them because the association for animal rights is against the request. The veterinary services department came but their techniques have not been effective enough as the cats became more, Yangazov said.
He indicated that the cats continue to be lured to the hospital by the readily available food on the premises.
Yangazov added that the Rundu State Hospital is not the only hospital experiencing this problem.
The State veterinarian in the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry, Dr Alec Bishi reiterated that the cats could pose a health hazard as they are susceptible to rabies and can transmit it.
Bishi explained that it would be difficult to remove the stray cats from the hospital grounds as they come there looking for food.
He indicated that the cats could also be coming to the hospital premises in search of mice and rats.
Bishi said the hospital management should just practice proper hygiene and minimise the leftover food that is thrown away in dustbins.