15 March 2019

Namibia: Mental Patient Escapes From Ward, Evades Gunshots

Omuthiya — A truck driver who was parked in town along the Omuthiya main road fired warning shots to restrain a mentally challenged male patient who tried to board onto his truck after the mental patient escaped from under the noses of nurses from a hospital.

The shooting incident happened around 20h00 on Monday between Kizomba and Roadhouse Guesthouse. A male nurse and a security guard later pursued the psychiatric patient on foot.

Omuthiya Hospital does not have the capacity to admit mentally ill patients, hence such cases are transferred to Oshakati Intermediary Hospital.

There are four mentally ill patients admitted at the hospital. New Era was informed the by the head of the hospital Dr. Ndambika Dilumbenzi had the patients transferred immediately.

According to eye witnesses the patient who was handcuffed came from nowhere and headed towards the truck. However due to fear, the unknown driver, who was outside the truck fired warning shots with a pistol after attempts to stop the patients did not work.

By the time New Era arrived at scene the truck had left.

Meanwhile sources from the hospital, suspect the patient (although this reporter could not establish his name) was admitted during the weekend.

"The patient never showed any aggressive behaviour and has been cooperative. He however started getting violent before he escaped, but the security guard came and handcuffed him before he escaped. The next thing we heard was gun shots," said the source

Dilumbenzi refusing to comment on the matter says everything has to go through his supervisor, or needed to be authorised in black and white to liaise with the media.

The acting director of health, Dr. Helena Nkandi, denied any knowledge of the event but said under normal circumstance the hospital only keeps such person when they are still arranging for transport, or in cases whereby such patients do not exhibit violent behaviours.

"We do not have holding rooms for such patients, but we keep some depending on their condition. Sometimes it is because of transport which is not sufficient, and this issue has been straining us a lot," said Nkandi, emphasising that it was unfortunate this happened although she had no clue on the matter.

Omuthiya Hospital was built through a N$70 million donation from the Chinese government, and it is still not rated as a fully-fledged hospital as it does not meet all standards.

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