Kenyan nurse at Tsumkwe complains of being overworked

23 Oct 2013 14:40pm
OTJIWARONGO, 23 OCT (NAMPA) – A Registered Nurse from Kenya stationed at the Tsumkwe State Clinic is complaining bitterly of being overworked and tired.
Magreth Obala told Nampa on Wednesday that she is manning the Tsumkwe State Clinic alone since June this year when her colleague resigned from that clinic.
She has been stationed at this clinic for the past four years, which is situated over 260 kilometres east of Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region.
Obala was reacting to some accusations levelled against her by residents of Tsumkwe that she is rude and turns patients away without attending to them.
Obala explained that she starts work at 08h00, and ends at 19h00 on average from Mondays to Fridays.
Over weekends, she only attends to emergency cases like baby deliveries, snake bites and serious injuries, which are common in Tsumkwe.
“I know who told you these allegations. It is because they come here on weekends, complaining of flu and coughs which are not really life-threatening situations,” she explained.
Since Monday this week, several San people have been sending text messages to this Nampa reporter, complaining of Obala’s bad attitude when they visit the clinic.
“The Kenyan sister here at Tsumkwe clinic is rude and unprofessional,” read one of the text messages sent by an unidentified member of the San community on Wednesday.
When called back on her mobile phone on the same day to find out more, the San woman said the nurse uses vulgar language, is unfriendly and does not respond on time to patients’ needs.
Another concerned resident teaching at the Tsumkwe Primary School, Bonifatius Hangula, also complained about the same nurse, saying she was on standby on Sunday, but refused to attend to his sick eight-month-old baby.
Hangula told this agency that he had taken his baby to the Tsumkwe State Clinic on Sunday morning after she started vomiting and showing signs of fever.
“I found the Kenyan nurse at the nurses’ home in the vicinity of the clinic, and she told me that she was on standby that Sunday.
However, she refused to assist my baby, saying it was her Sunday, her holiday,” he stated.
Contacted for comment on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS)’s spokesperson Esther Paulus said all nurses working at State clinics around the country are entitled to only work from 08h00 to 17h00 from Mondays to Fridays.
“However, there is also always a nurse on call after-hours and over weekends to attend to emergency cases only,” she explained.
When asked whether a nurse on call is allowed to turn patients away on the basis that it is a weekend, Paulus failed to answer.
She only said the MOHSSS has a policy which states that only Health-Care Centres operate 24-hours-a-day.
Health-Care Centres provide more medical services than clinics, and can admit patients, which clinics cannot.
Meanwhile, some San people in Tsumkwe are now calling on the MOHSS to always consider bringing nurses to the clinic who are willing to work with the community and attend to their illnesses.