05 Oct 2017 14:20pm
By Rhonie ||Garoëb
RIETOOG, 05 OCT (NAMPA) The lack of an ambulance remains a key challenge for the Rietoog Clinic in the Hardap Region.
During a visit to settlement on Wednesday, enrolled nurse Corrita Claassen told Nampa there is no ambulance to ferry critically ill patients and those who require immediate surgery to Rehoboth.
We have to wait for the ambulance to come from Rehoboth
In the past, some people have died while waiting for the ambulance, Claassen said.
Rehoboth is located about 140 kilometres (km) north-east of the settlement.
Claassen said the transport deficit persists, despite numerous requests to the regional heads to have an ambulance stationed here or at least at the Klein-Aub settlement, which is about 50km north-east of Rietoog, to attend to patients in the surrounding areas.
Asked about the availability of drugs at the clinic, Claassen said they have all the important medicine, as they order medicine every two weeks.
Anthea Fredericks, a resident of the settlement, told this agency the clinic assists them even on weekends and sometimes without the N.dollar 4 required for consultation.
Nurse Claassen is really very helpful. Sometimes we will go on a Sunday or Saturday evening when our kids are sick and she will without hesitation help us. The only problem we have is the time the ambulance takes to come to Rietoog, Fredericks said.
Fredericks said she had two miscarriages in two years as a result of the transport issues.
I have lost two babies; one when I was seven months pregnant and the other at six months. If we had an ambulance here they could have been saved. I am calling on government to please assist us to bring an ambulance to Rietoog. People are dying while waiting for the ambulance, she remarked.
Claassen could, however, not confirm these miscarriages, saying she only started working at the clinic in February this year and since then no one has died while waiting for an ambulance.
Contacted for comment, Ministry of Health and Social Services Permanent Secretary Andreas Mwoombala said in an email response the ministry has put a plan in place to allocate ambulances to all health facilities, including clinics, and has already started with the exercise.
However this will take time for a number of reasons which need to be addressed first before allocation of these ambulances, like provisions to be made for clinics to have drivers in the staff establishment, and the ministry has submitted proposals to the Public Service [Commission] for these categories to be added and posted at strategic places, Mwoombola said.
He further stated that some places are only accessible by 4x4 vehicle and the ministry is busy converting 4x4s into acceptable standardised ambulances.
Mwoombola added that the ministry has a total of 35 hospitals, 46 health centres and about 278 clinics countrywide.
The Hardap Region has two hospitals, three health centres and 13 clinics.