N$13m more for botched workBy: DENVER KISTING
Chinese ignored Namibian health standards
MORE than N$13 million is needed to fix the botched work on the yet-to-be-opened Omuthiya District Hospital, which the Chinese government built as a gift for Namibia, and for it to comply with acceptable hospital standards.
This is more than double the amount that Richard Kamwi, the Minister of Health and Social Services, earlier indicated it would cost to upgrade the Chinese-built facility.
Kamwi earlier admitted that the facility had shortcomings and could not function as a hospital.
The Namibian has it on good authority most of the manuals for electronic equipment are in Chinese and no training for users was provided. This made it impossible for anyone who cannot read Chinese to use some of the sophisticated equipment.
The kitchen at the new hospital needs to be provided with stainless steel worktops, changing rooms for staff, suitable sinks and catering equipment, while new wash troughs, shelving and tables are required for the laundry room.
The incinerator must be moved to minimise health hazards, it is understood.
In the operating theatre, a passage for the removal of used items is needed. Also, the gas, water and air-conditioning installations need to be moved.
The mortuary needs a viewing room for mourners and dissection tables are needed for autopsies, The Namibian understands.
Furthermore, new walls, floor and hand-wash basins are needed for the toilets.
The delivery room and the postnatal ward need to be adjusted for easier observation of infants and patient privacy. Here and in the theatre gas and water pipes currently pose a health risk to patients and health workers. To minimise the risk, the pipes would need to be moved.
“Suitable equipment” is needed for the X-ray department.
For the facility to function as a hospital, a primary healthcare clinic needs to be built for provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART), among other things.
Kamwi earlier told The Namibian that the ministry needed to make sure that the facility met Namibian standards.
It is believed that Kamwi has asked Cabinet to accept donations of hospitals or clinics, either by governments or the private sector, only if they conform with Namibian standards.
On November 15 2009, President Hifikepunye Pohamba announced during the groundbreaking ceremony that the hospital construction had come about thanks to a N$69 million grant from China.
Because Omuthiya is the capital of the Oshikoto Region, “Government identified the need for a district hospital to be constructed to serve as a referral for outreach points for primary healthcare clinics and health centres within the boundaries of Omuthiya,” Pohamba boasted.
Due to the delays in establishing a functioning hospital, it was decided to open the facility as a day clinic, Kamwi said earlier.
Kamwi could not say when the clinic would be able to function as a hospital. “I cannot give you that. [The Ministry of] Works must be satisfied.”
Asked what would happen to the equipment that was meant for the hospital, Kamwi said: “They are well kept. I wouldn’t say so [that the equipment will become white elephants].”
Kamwi maintained that the facility would eventually function as a 60-bed hospital.
During the groundbreaking in 2009, Pohamba said the hospital would have a medical building, an emergency department, a pharmacy, a laboratory, an operating theatre, a central sterile supply department, maternity, paediatric and tuberculosis wards. It would also have a kitchen, laundry facilities, administrative buildings, a mortuary, an incinerator and doctors’ and nurses’ living quarters.
Pohamba announced that the hospital would be instrumental in fighting HIV-AIDS and “provide for other health services such as routine immunisation of all infants and children as well as the improvement and expansion of reproductive healthcare for expecting women in order to reduce maternal mortality rates”.
Yesterday, Kamwi said he could not respond to questions as he was busy. The Permanent Secretary (PS), Andrew Ndishishi, was out of the country and did not answer his cellphone. Norbert Forster, the acting PS, was said to be in a meeting yesterday afternoon.