Minister’s health outreach in //Kharas

02 Feb 2016 18:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 2 FEB (NAMPA) – Rehoboth, Keetmanshoop and Gobabis are the “Sparta” of Namibia, said head surgeon of the Windhoek Central Hospital (WCH), Dr. Manoj Kamble during an outreach visit to the //Kharas Region on Tuesday.
Sparta was an ancient city in Greece where many bloody wars were fought.
Kamble said most severe stab and gun wounds in the country that are referred to the WCH and Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek hail from these towns.
He attributed this to dangerous alcohol and drug abuse levels, and added that the Ministry of Health and Social Services was addressing this scourge together with other stakeholders through a multi-disciplinary approach.
Kamble was chief surgeon of a team of medical professionals visiting the Keetmanshoop State Hospital as part of the National Medical Outreach initiative that was launched by health minister Bernard Haufiku last year.
Incidentally, a patient being operated on by doctors in Keetmanshoop on Tuesday was a result of a serious stab wound to the neck two days before.
Another team was dispatched to Lüderitz State Hospital to conduct surgeries, general checks and specialist care on patients from the coastal town and nearby communities.
The Keetmanshoop hospital was filled to the brim with hundreds of patients hoping to be seen by the professionals.
The initiative that started with Haufiku only now includes a range of professionals from both the state and private sector who visit regions most in need of assistance.
Regions generally are understaffed and lack the infrastructure and equipment needed to deal with specialist and high-care cases.
The regional hospital in Keetmanshoop is supposed to have at least seven doctors, but only has three.
The 154-bed hospital regularly accommodates only between 40 and 60 per cent of patients mainly due to the nonexistence of specialist doctors, the health minister revealed during a previous visit to the facility.
According to coordinator of the outreach programme Dr Ruben Kanime, the programme has already proven to be of benefit to both patients in the country and the health system as whole.
“Over the next two months we will see a considerable decrease in the load of patients from this region referred to the two state hospitals in Windhoek,” he said.
Kanime admitted that the entire health system of the country was under strain, including the main hospitals in Windhoek.
“That is why the ministry is heavily committed to the training of medical personnel while plans are in place to build an additional hospital in the capital city.”
He also said that nurses are receiving on-the-job training to deal with serious emergencies especially in maternal care, while the country may again receive a contingent of Cuban doctors after an agreement signed by President Hage Geingob in Havana last year.
Kanime said the deficiency of enough qualified staff creates pressure on medical equipment and existing staff resulting in overworked professionals, an overload of cases and a backlog that could increase the risk of progression of disease in patients.
The visiting medics, who include dentistry, orthopedics, surgical, radiology, anesthetics and obstetrics, were aiming to transfer skills to staff while executing medical care.
Kamble, who is also a lecturer at the School of Medicine, said in a few years the Keetmanshoop hospital will simultaneously serve as a national teaching hospital for medical students.