Namibia: Rundu Hospitals Only for Emergencies and Covid-19 Patients

THE third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage Rundu, as the state hospital now only attends to emergencies and referrals.

Rundu has recorded 252 new infections and 24 deaths in the last seven days.

The Kavango East region, which has a population of about 223 352, has recorded 5 126 Covid cases and 119 deaths since the third wave started.

Rundu Intermediate Hospital medical superintendent Joseph Mukerenge announced these changes last week, saying they want to ensure that they manage their resources for seriously ill patients in the hospitals.

"The Rundu Intermediate Hospital will only attend to emergencies, referrals from clinics/district hospitals and patients coming for doctors' reviews (second visits)," the statement reads.

The national referral hospitals, Windhoek Central and Katutura Intermediate, issued a similar statement two months ago.

"All first visits seeking treatment at our facility will be redirected to the Rundu clinic or any other health facility of their choice," Mukerenge said.

The hospital's public relations officer, Lebeus Musongo, told The Namibian that since last week, the hospital has seen some improvements.

"Patients that are coming to see the doctor are not spending a lot of time here and emergencies are being attended to faster. It's also assisting us to properly manage our resources," he said.

Musongo said since the third wave started, they have not experienced any oxygen shortages.

"We noticed that we had more admissions and we were using more oxygen. So, management decided to move the isolation facilities to a wall oxygen ward, which can accommodate more people," he explained.

Musongo, who is also responsible for the Covid-19 risk communication and community engagement pillar, said they are using community-based healthcare workers to go into villages to sensitise communities about Covid-19. He added that the biggest challenge they face is misinformation among communities and on social media.

Asked how the public in the region is responding to the vaccination programme, he said the response has not been as expected, as they also have their targets.

"People are coming in small numbers but we are expecting them to increase in the coming weeks. We were not having all the vaccines but now we have received enough doses of Sinopharm."

Musongo explained that the vaccines were distributed to all the clinics and health centres in the region, and efforts were made to visit all the constituencies, specifically villages, to raise awareness on the safety of the vaccine.

"We always make a point that we go on radio every week and talk about different subjects regarding Covid-19, so that people understand the importance of them getting vaccinated," he stressed.

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