Namibia: Tsumeb District Hospital Falling Apart

Broken toilets, dirty bathrooms, leaking basins and pipes are some of the challenges that the Tsumeb District Hospital is currently facing.

A visit to the hospital depicted a sorry state of affairs, as most of the facilities are not functioning.

The visitors' toilet, located right next to the hospital's reception, is out of order and does not flush.

Despite this, it is apparent that it is being used nonetheless.

A pipe is leaking between the TB ward and the administration building, while heaps of refuse lay uncollected in the same area.

Some of the bathroom floors appeared brownish due to dirt, while there was no toilet paper. The Namibian learned that patients use newspapers after relieving themselves.

According to a senior nurse at the hospital, cleaners are getting a hard time as there is a lack of cleaning material at times, and even if the cleaners want to clean, it's impossible.

"This is supposed to be the cleanest place in town, but this health facility is a pigsty," a relative of a patient who was visiting patients in the TB ward, said. While The Namibian was there, an elderly, frail man who was on the floor was heard screaming for assistance as he wanted to be taken to the toilet, but nobody assisted him.

A visitor informed this reporter that the man fell twice as it seemed nobody was willing to help him.

When asked if the nurses heard his cries for help, a male nurse responded rudely: "We hear," and kept on filling in a book. "These nurses are very rude. At times, you are scared to seek services from the hospital," a patient, name withheld, said.

The Oshikoto region's health director, Dr Helena Nkandi-Shimii, told The Namibian recently that senior officials from her directorate, including herself, visited the Tsumeb District Hospital to acquaint themselves with some of the challenges faced by the health facility.

She confirmed that she is aware of the sorry state of the hospital.

"Recently, we were there to look at the Tsumeb District Hospital. We will buy [the] needed material for renovations in bulk to fix the hospital, while some cases will be referred to the ministry of works," Nkandi-Shimii said.

Asked about the lack of attention given to patients at the hospital by nurses, she added that she did not address the issue during her visit to the hospital, but principal medical officer Kalala Kabangu will address it once he is back at work.

The Namibian two years ago wrote about this hospital's overgrown weeds. At the time, there were fears from the public that the nearby stream could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

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