Former MP commends private dialysis centres amid Govt shortcomings

Engel Nawatiseb

Former parliamentarian Engel Nawatiseb has commended private dialysis centres for providing services while government institutions are unable to do so.

He says although the government has embarked on a mission to construct more dialysis centres, this should not put private institutions out of business.

Nawatiseb, a Tsumeb resident, who has been battling kidney disease since 2021, says the lack of dialysis facilities in the country has taken a toll on his finances.

“I should underline that private operators should not be forced out of business because they were the only instruments which saved our lives when the government could not provide the services,” Nawatiseb says.

According to Nawatiseb, dialysis services are mostly available at private practices and less at government institutions, due to the lack of resources at public and government institutions.

He was speaking during an interview with The Namibian on Monday.

Nawatiseb commended the government on their mission to construct more centres and reiterated that it is the way to go.

Dialysis is a procedure to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly.

Relating his personal experience, Nawatiseb said he would not have made it through 2021 had it not been for an emergency dialysis procedure.

“In fact, I should have died in November 2021 after I spent two months in the intensive care unit in the Roman Catholic Hospital. I was lucky because the specialist diagnosed an emergency dialysis when my kidneys gave in,” he said.

According to Nawatiseb, kidney failure is a condition that individuals can live with if sessions are attended regularly.

He said sometimes kidney function can be restored and individuals can continue with their normal lives without any disruption.

“You can dance, run, sit, become a politician and even have sexual intercourse if you are a loving partner,” he said.

According to Nawatiseb, the only downfall to receiving dialysis treatment is the two hours spent during sessions to receive treatment.

He added that in order to improve dialysis care in the country, the government has embarked on a mission to construct more dialysis centres.

Nawatiseb appealed to the government to collaborate with private institutions to create a win-win situation for both the public and private sector.

Nawatiseb, alongside the Hope Foundation Trust, is working to build a centre at Tsumeb to train more nurses in dialysis care and also to serve as ambassadors.

“We have noticed that more cases of dialysis patients are being reported throughout health facilities, hence the need for more trained professionals to be on standby,” he said.

Executive director in the Ministry of Health and Social Services Ben Nangombe did not respond to questions sent to him, regarding the capacity of government to provide dialysis services to public patients, but noted that the ministry is working towards building dialysis centres at state hospitals countrywide.

He said the ministry spends N$100 million per year referring state patients for dialysis services in the private sector.

“A decision was, therefore, taken to establish dialysis centres in a number of public hospitals,” Nangombe said.

These centres will be established at Katutura Intermediate Hospital, Oshakati Intermediate Hospital, Katima Mulilo, Keetmanshoop, Rundu, Walvis Bay, Gobabis, Mariental and Otjiwarongo.

According to Nangombe, the centre at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital has already received equipment and will accommodate 15 dialysis chairs.

He said the establishment of these centres will bring services closer to residents.

“We are going to cut thousands of kilometres travelled by people. This is to bring the services as close to home as possible,” Nangombe said.

He added that the ministry is in the process of building intensive care units at public hospitals and has purchased equipment that will be distributed countrywide.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News