Namibia: Woman Dies in Clinic Queue

A mother of six died while waiting for assistance in line at the Robert Mugabe Clinic in Windhoek on Monday morning.

Roimi Nandjebo (36) reportedly waited to be assisted for over four hours.

Her family on Tuesday told The Namibian that she complained of back ache and that her chest felt 'tight' at around six o'clock on Monday morning.

Her neighbour at Greenwell Matongo residential area, Innocent Ekandjo, who accompanied Nandjebo to the clinic, said the deceased asked for help from two security guards on three separate occasions, but did not receive any assistance.

The security guards were ushering in patients who were in line to be assisted by the nurses.

"We arrived at the clinic at nine in the morning. She stood up to ask the security guard who was ushering in patients to please ask the nurses to help her at 10h00, 11h00 and again at 12h00. She told them she really was not feeling well and desperately needed help, but nobody came to assist her," she said.

"At 13h00 the (clinic) staff members went for lunch and at around 13h30, she fell off her chair and hit the ground face down. That was the end of her," she added.

Ekandjo said nurses rushed to her attention only after she fell down and tried to resuscitate her, but could not.

"I called the nurses when she fell. They rushed to try to get her back up and checked for a pulse but it was too late," she said.

Ekandjo said Nandjebo was the only person in the queue who had gotten up to request for immediate assistance but that still was not enough to get the staff's attention.

"Out of the many patients who were there, she was the only one who kept asking for help. Why could they not just have helped her?" she said.

Following the incident, Ekandjo said she had trouble sleeping that night and could not get the incident off her mind.

"I couldn't sleep last night [Monday], I feel like she died in my arms'" she said.

Nandjebo's aunt, Nette Makili, says she feels extremely disheartened.

"I know that we all have to die one day. What hurts me the most is that she died right in front of them [clinic staff] without receiving any assistance. They did not see the urgency even though she asked for help three times," she said.

Makili said Nandjebo, who was married, had come to Windhoek last week to visit her younger brother from Omundaungilo village in Ohangwena region.

She had six children, and was still breastfeeding her youngest who is one year and five months.

Makili urged members of the health profession to uphold the pledge they made when they decided to commit to their profession.

"If you choose to work in a clinic, make sure you are committed to your job. Medical staff can't do their job half-heartedly," he said.

An autopsy report, seen by The Namibian, revealed that Nandjebo's immediate cause of death was an intracrainial abscess due to abscess of the eyelid.

Intracranial abscess, also known as cerebral abscess or brain abscess is a localised infection in the brain that forms a collection of infectious material in a specific part of the brain. This infection is usually caused by a bacterial infection elsewhere in the body that migrate to the brain.

A senior staff member at the clinic who declined to provide The Namibian with her name, confirmed the incident, but referred this reporter to the ministry's head office.

Health executive director Ben Nangombe yesterday confirmed the death but said he is waiting for a report form the regional health office.

"If a distressed patient comes to a clinic , they need to be made a priority. Health professionals are trained to identify patients who need urgent attention," Nangombe said.

He said he could only provide further information once he has been fully briefed on the incident.

A staff member at the clinic told The Namibian yesterday that the clinic started an integration programme with all patients queueing up in one line except in cases of emergency.

The staff member further said this new programme is an inconvenience as some patients are not assisted by the end of the day.

This is not the first time that The Namibian has reported on a patient dying while waiting in line at the Robert Mugabe Clinic.

In 2015, a baby died in its mother's arms while the mother allegedly waited for close to two hours in a queue to be assisted. The baby had already died by the time the clinic staff tried to assist her.

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