Kamwi demands public explantions on deathsBy: SHINOVENE IMMANUEL
OFFICIALS at the Windhoek Central Hospital have denied that they acted negligently and caused the death of a woman during labour.
Health Minister Richard Kamwi said he had had enough of being the spokesperson for hospitals while they had managers and demanded that the managers explain what had happened.
A 22-year-old Windhoek woman, Violine Ndjitaviua, died two weeks ago after giving birth to a baby girl in the Windhoek Central Hospital.
Kamwi ordered the hospital manager to explain to him, and to the nation at large, what had led to her death.
“I demanded that she [Dr Sara Shalongo] inform the nation in a professional manner. I want to instil accountability in the health sector in line with our strategic plan,” he said.
The Central Hospital’s acting superintendent Dr Sara Shalongo, on Tuesday wrote a letter to the minister and a day later issued a media statement on what transpired.
Asked whether there was any negligence involved, Shalongo said “no”.
She explained in the letter to the minister that the patient gave birth at 05h46, and two hours later the patient was suffering from postpartum haemorrhage, which is the loss of more than 500 ml of blood following vaginal delivery.
According to the doctor’s explanation, an immediate resuscitation was done. “Three doctors were mobilised including the specialist for obstetrics on call and the specialist anesthetist for managing postpartum haemorrhage”.
The medical team explained to the minister that the patient continued to bleed and was taken back to the theatre in an attempt to arrest the bleeding, where she was operated on by a specialist.
The Namibian Sun reported earlier this month that Ndjitaviua was not properly dilated to give birth even after the more than 50 hours she had spent in hospital.
“They knew for a day the cervix was not opening wide enough for her to give birth. They did not come to talk to us about her condition. It is negligence,” Ndjitaviua’s boyfriend Ricardo Tjiuoro said in the report.
He pointed out that the baby was also too big for her to give birth naturally.
The hands-on approach by the ministry comes a few months after the findings of an investigation into the state of the public health sector was handed over to President Hifikepunye Pohamba. The report has not been made public.
One of the reports that the minister is still awaiting is about the death of Juliana Kleopas and her newborn baby boy in the Katutura State Hospital on May 3 last year. Kamwi said he was still waiting for the report from the Health Professions Council.
Kleopas, who was admitted for a scheduled Cesarian section, died days after she was admitted
Kamwi last year revealed that 80 mothers died in State health facilities in 2010.
In 2011, 62 mothers died in labour in Namibian hospitals. These figures excluded those mothers who died at home and those who died after being discharged.
This means that more mothers could have died shortly after giving birth.
Namibia’s maternal deaths almost doubled between 1992 and 2006 – from 225 to 449 per 100 000 live births. Infant deaths increased from 38 per 1 000 births in 2000 to 46 per 1 000 births in 2006.