8 February 2018

Namibia: City Explains Hospital Water Cut

The City of Windhoek yesterday advised that a lockable water system be installed to prevent a recurrence of the situation at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital, where staff and patients had to endure three days without water.

City spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said this following reports by The Namibian that the hospital, which has a capacity of over 800 patients, had been out of water between Saturday afternoon and Monday afternoon.

She said the city had tried to rescue the situation on Saturday when they learned that the water has been cut, and upon arrival at the hospital, municipal workers found the water pipe's valve closed, and opened it.

This did not solve the water interruption, as they later found that the main pump which supplies the hospital had burst. In the end, the city thus supplied a water tank to remedy the situation in the interim while the problem was being fixed. At the time, Amutenya had told The Namibian that the problem was caused by works ministry employees who were working on the water lines, but the ministry's spokesperson, Julius Ngweda, in turn said it was the municipal workers.

While urging both the health and works ministries to take responsibility, Amutenya assured the public that they had done all they could to rescue the situation, but that it was not easy.

She thus urged the health ministry to install a lockable system at the water meter, and that one key be provided to the municipality for emergency purposes.

"This will prevent the unauthorised opening and closing of the gate valves by strangers and/or unknown persons in future," said Amutenya. The Namibian reported on the difficulty the hospital staff and patients had to endure due to the lack of water at the institution.

Keeping the place hygienic and clean, while forced to allegedly stop surgeries as well as the inability of patients to take baths, were some of the challenges expressed when The Namibian visited on Monday.

"Since the closed valve is located on the hospital premises, the unavailability of water as reported for the three days is a matter which the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Health and Social Services must accept responsibility for.

"The responsibility of the City of Windhoek ends at the water meter, and the ministry of works assumes responsibility further on," Amutenya stressed.

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