‘My baby’s birth date was changed to cover their mistake’

Elia Hasenanye Halweendo

It was on a Monday morning around 09h00 when Eliaser Halweendo received a text message from the mother of his child, telling him she gave birth the previous day.

“I was excited and shared the news with a friend I was driving with.”

Halweendo, who hails from Ondangwa, says he immediately phoned Katrina Johannes.

Their baby was due in December.

“My joy turned to frustration and disappointment after I learned my prematured baby, who was born at seven months, and his mother were discharged by nurses without the doctor’s authorisation on the same day,” he says.

Halweendo claims this is medical negligence or failing to provide adequate treatment after birth, and the healthcare workers on duty should be held accountable for negligence.

They tried to cover the early release by changing the baby’s birth date, he says.

Halweendo says his baby has now been admitted to Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital.

He hopes the delay in treatment for his premature baby would not affect the child in the long term.

“Taking advantage of people because of their unprivileged background should come to an end,” he says.

Johannes says she returned to the clinic the day after they were discharged, because the baby seemed to be short of breath.

The baby was then transferred to the Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital, she says, where it has been placed in an incubator.
Johannes says the baby was born at Oshalongo Clinic in the Oshikoto region on 1 October.

“My baby seems to be doing better compared to before,” she says.

“I was told he should weigh at least 1,8kg before he could be discharged. At the time of birth he weighed 1,40kg,” she says.

Oshikoto health director Joshua Nghipangelwa has confirmed that the baby was born at Oshalongo Clinic, but on 5 October.

“Yes, I am aware of the matter which was investigated. The baby was born at Oshalongo Clinic and was transferred to Omuthiya District Hospital, and was admitted to Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital on the same day,” he says.

Nghipangelwa has, however, denied claims that the baby’s date of birth was changed, adding Halweendo is “making up stories”.

A friend of Halweendo, Nalikondjelwe ya Ndume, says he has received a call from Halweendo, saying the baby was born on 1 October.

“He called me the day after the baby was born,” he says.

Another friend, Shuuya Diva, says Halweendo “contacted me when his baby was born, but certainly not on 5 October”.

Executive director of health and social services Ben Nangombe has confirmed that he is aware of the matter, saying Johannes’ claim is incorrect.

“The mother and baby were transferred to Onandjokwe hospital,” he said.

Regarding the wrong birth date, Nangombe said it’s rare for something like that to happen.

He said it could be due to human error, and can be rectified.

“We record data of over a thousand babies born, and it is done accurately. This is the first case I have heard of.

“There should be a procedure to correct the error and notifying the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security of the changes,” Nangombe said.

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