16 Aug 2013 04:30
OPUWO, 16 AUG (NAMPA) - The shortage of medical doctors at the Opuwo State Hospital in the Kunene Region is not just a concern to the community, but to the few doctors at this State facility too.
Patients who are referred to medical doctors here have to wait for up to a week in some cases to be attended to by a doctor due to the long lines of people waiting for the same purpose.
One of those affected who has been waiting for a week now just to be given high blood pressure medication is pensioner Gottfriedine Tjakuva, who came here last week Thursday after her blood pressure tablets ran out.
Soon after her pills were finished, she started suffering from chest pains and headaches.
I am still here at the Opuwo State Hospital since last week, waiting to be seen by a doctor who needs to prescribe my high blood pressure medication, explained Tjakuva.
She also complained of neck pains, saying that her high blood pressure could result in a stroke.
One of only two medical doctors at the Opuwo State Hospital told this news agency that they are overloaded with work.
He spoke to Nampa on condition that his name is not revealed, because they are not allowed to speak to the media.
The doctor said they are also not allowed to take even leave, given their workload and the shortage of doctors at the State health facility.
On a daily basis, he treats 40 patients admitted at the Opuwo State Hospital, and 50 patients from outside.
According to him, the quality of service is thus compromised as the two doctors strive to reduce the long line of waiting patients, which can stretch up to 50 patients per day.
Five doctors are supposed to be stationed at the Opuwo State Hospital.
According to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) recommended doctor-patient ratio, at least one doctor should treat or be responsible for a catchment area of about 1 000 patients.
The current situation in Kunene is 1:25 000.
The two doctors at the Opuwo State hospital are responsible for people of the Epupa, Opuwo and Sesfontein constituencies.
The Opuwo State Hospital was expected to receive three more doctors in July this year.
However, just before the three doctors were to receive their appointment letters, they declined the offer for better job openings in South Africa.
The Director of Health for Kunene, Thomas Shapumba informed Nampa in July this year that he is aware of the workload of the two doctors.
He said advertisements for vacancies are placed in local newspapers every third month to try and attract both doctors and registered nurses, but with very little success.