Treatment a headache as patients wait for hours

LONG WAIT … Patients wait to be helped inside the Katutura Health Centre earlier this week. Photo: Charlotte Nambadja

Patients at the Katutura Health Centre are calling on the government to recruit more doctors to reduce long waiting hours.

This comes after the centre in Windhoek was observed filled to capacity with patients on Monday evening.

This, the patients say, was due to a lack of doctors at the healthcare facility.

When The Namibian arrived at the centre, patients complained about the delayed service.

Nurses were observed doing their best to attend to all patients, however, many were forced to wait in two long queues, with only one doctor per queue – one for children and another for adults.

Some patients lost their patience while waiting their turn on Monday.

This prompted a doctor to urge them to remain patient.

A 51-year-old woman in the queue told The Namibian she was accompanying her 21-year-old son, who was in intense pain.

She said they were referred to the centre from the Khomasdal Clinic, where they spent the whole day awaiting services.

“It seems like the doctors are assisting the people they know, since some do not queue and are assisted right away,” she said.

A patient leaving the healthcare centre said she arrived at 07h00, only to see the doctor at 22h00.

“During lunch, everything stops. We wait, and at some point there was no doctor. I was told to come back tomorrow again for an X-ray.

“The health ministry should recruit more doctors – it’s the only way the service could improve,” she said.

Another patient said: “I am not satisfied with the service. I went to the Donkerhoek Clinic at about 15h00, where there was no doctor, and I was assisted by student nurses before I was referred to this health centre at 18h30.”

He said he was in the queue for four hours before he was assisted by a doctor.

Commenting on the matter, Ministry of Health and Social Services spokesperson Walters Kamaya said due to the distribution of doctors across the nine clinics in the Khomas region, the ministry could only allocate two to cover a night shift.

“Only three healthcare facilities operate from 08h00 until 19h00, while the rest close at 17h00. This makes the Katutura Health Centre the sole provider of primary healthcare services during the evening,” he said.

Kamaya said the Katutura Health Centre plays a crucial role in providing primary healthcare services to the community of Katutura since it operates 24 hours and serves a catchment population of approximately 140 000 people.

On a daily basis, the centre caters to about 2 000 patients.

Due to the rapidly growing population in Windhoek, the ministry is addressing the healthcare needs of the community, Kamanya said.

The ministry is hiring additional healthcare workers, primarily doctors and nurses, to ensure sufficient medical attention for everyone, he said.

Additionally, the ministry is exploring the feasibility of opening a new clinic that operates 24 hours, specifically aimed at improving the waiting time for clients and enhancing patient flow at the Katutura Health Centre, Kamaya said.

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