Katutura hospital patient influx hampering renovation progress: ED

WINDHOEK: The Ministry of Works and Transport is facing challenges in completing renovations at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital in the 2023/2024 financial year, which ends in March. One of the major issues is a lack of relocation options for patients during the ongoing renovations, the ministry's Executive Director, Ester Kaapanda, said during an interview with Nampa on the sidelines of Works Minister John Mutorwa's ministerial new year address on Wednesday. 'Katutura State Hospital has not been renovated since independence. It is not a smooth exercise. We are dealing with a big intermediate hospital where many patients are referred to from different parts of the country. We wanted to renovate as many floors as possible as fast as possible and to use the funds before the end of the financial year, but the challenge is the relocation of patients. Where do we put patients if we want to renovate a floor? When some recover, others come in, and it is a challenge,' Kaapanda said. Government has availed N.doll ars 40 million for the renovation of the hospital. So far, Kaapanda said, they have managed to renovate the seventh floor of the hospital. 'We are ready to complete renovations within this financial year as we do not want the funds returned to Treasury. We are trying to come up with a strategic plan and we engaged the health ministry to see if there are alternative plans to accommodate patients in other hospitals such as Central Hospital, or other hospitals, for us to be able to execute these renovations in a timely manner,' Kaapanda added. The Ministry of Health's Executive Director, Ben Nangombe, however said it will be impossible to transfer patients to other hospitals, citing the higher ranking of Katutura Intermediate Hospital. Nangombe informed Nampa in an interview that the health ministry has arranged temporary housing for patients during renovations such as the nurses' hall, an old Namibia Institute of Pathology building, the TB ward at Katutura hospital, and a prefabricated structure with 96 bed s. Additionally, old COVID-19 structures near Windhoek Central Hospital and a field hospital are being utilised to keep patients close to specialists and equipment. 'As a ministry we have gone far in terms of availing space to patients while renovations are ongoing. We are happy with the renovation, it is making a difference. The dilapidation is gone, the hospital also doesn't have mice anymore. The material used previously was cardboard and we are now using lightweight bricks so that mice and insects cannot burrow through,' Nangombe said. He also revealed that renovations at the emergency medicine unit are complete. 'I visited the renovation sites at the end of last year and I am happy. We are confident that things will improve,' he added. Source: The Namibia Press Agency