Nangombe denies bed shortage at Katutura hospital

The executive director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, says there is no shortage of beds at Katutura State Hospital, although he admits there is a shortage of space.

This statement follows reports from several mothers admitted to the hospital who told The Namibian that they were sleeping on the floor with their babies due to a shortage of beds.

Nangombe, however, says the hospital has enough beds for patients.

“The hospital has beds available for patients. The challenge presented by the scenario you have described relates to the high number of patients seeking healthcare compared to the available physical space in the affected wards,” he says.

Nangombe says the population has grown, leading to congestion.

“As can be appreciated, the country’s population has grown relative to the available space in health facilities, leading to congestion. For this reason, for example, a new district hospital is being built in Windhoek to decongest existing health facilities,” he says.

Nangombe says the government has allocated N$16 billion for implementing various interventions.

“The plan is costed at more than N$16 billion and involves the implementation of various interventions such as the renovation, expansion and modernisation of physical infrastructure, recruitment of health professionals in various disciplines, procurement of medical equipment and ambulances and other interventions.

“The plan aims to strengthen and improve service delivery in different parts of the country. Other interventions being implemented include establishing dialysis units across the country, as well as intensive care units in all district hospitals nationwide. The implementation of these projects will bring services closer to the people so they do not have to travel long distances to receive care. It is part of our march towards universal health coverage,” he says.

Nangombe says that due to limited space the hospital management has decided to temporarily remove cots from different rooms in the wards to create space for mattresses to accommodate more patients.

“The rooms in these specific wards can only accommodate one baby cot. However, by removing the cots, space is created to accommodate more patients. This decision was made to ensure mothers are not sent home, but remain close to their admitted babies for breastfeeding, as this is vital for the health and growth of these babies who are unwell.
“Separating babies from their mothers at such a critical juncture would not be in the best interest of their recovery and bonding. It is not in the best interest of the babies’ long-term health,” he says.

Earlier this month, The Namibian reported that 60 mothers and their babies were sleeping on the floor, while over 50 patients were admitted in a tent.

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