Costs escalate for delayed Keetmanshoop TB ward

16 Nov 2015 19:30pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 16 NOV (NAMPA) – Costs for the construction of the long-awaited Keetmanshoop Tuberculosis (TB) ward at the Keetmanshoop State Hospital has escalated by over 30 per cent, largely due to delays in the project.
The 40-bed ward, initially set at N.dollars 35 million, will now cost the taxpayer N.dollars 46 million.
During a visit to the hospital on Monday, Health and Social Services Minister, Bernhard Haufiku expressed his disappointment at this development.
“Two clinics could have been built with N.dollars 10 million,” he said.
The project, marred by controversies such as the onsite injury of a bricklayer and the disappearance of the contractor, has been delayed.
The construction site was handed over to the contractor in December 2012.
It will now be completed in May 2016, according to QE Civil and Building Contractors project manager Hennie Coetzee, who showed the minister around the premises.
Another issue that came to the minister’s attention was the month-long breakdown of the main incinerator at the hospital.
All medical waste is now transported to either Mariental or Karasburg every third day to be disposed of.
The incinerator broke due to overload, the minister was told.
The X-Ray processor has also been down for four months. The hospital now uses a small machine borrowed from the Mariental State Hospital that can only accommodate 20 patients a day.
The ventilation in the X-Ray Department is also out of order, increasing amongst others the risk of transmission of airborne diseases like TB.
Haufiku gave a stern warning to staff to put efficiency at the top of all their dealings.
“If we pay attention, a lot of the problems can be prevented. Let us maintain our facilities and fix every crack, tile or tap on a daily basis – that way, we manage our risk.”
Overall, however, Haufiku was impressed by the cleanliness of the Keetmanshoop State Hospital.
“From what I’ve seen, the casualty department is world-class and the Dental Department is outstanding, absolutely spotless.”
He said treatment response statistics of the hospital also looked good, highlighting the near-elimination of HIV-transmission to babies from HIV-positive mothers and zero maternal deaths for four years.
Haufiku said his aim in office with his team is to eradicate corruption and to ensure efficient service throughout all health facilities across the country.
“We will seal the loopholes and we will flush out the corrupt or lazy elements,” he promised.
Haufiku is on a weeklong visit in the //Karas Region that started on Monday.