Okakarara hospital in bedding shortage

By Shallot Mohutege

ADMITTED patients at the Okakarara State Hospital are allegedly left lying on cold mattresses waiting for family members to bring them bedding as the hospital has been without linen since last year.

According to a nurse who works there, the situation has been like that for as long as she can remember.

“We don’t even have bed sheets. If a nurse manages to find a paper to put on the bed then that patient is very lucky. It is such a shame and there is nothing we can do. Every patient has to bring their own bed sheets and blankets.” She added that the situation becomes perilous in winter for patients who were not expecting to be hospitalised and live very far from the hospital.

Some of these patients’ families can only bring blankets days after their loved one is hospitalised as they live far from the health institution.

“Some come in because they were in a car accident or they just felt ill but when they get here they get hospitalised so they have no blankets and lie on the bed without anything to cover them from the cold and have to wait for their families.”

Another source said the hospital’s laundry machines have not been working since 2018 and the hospital has had to use a private company to do their laundry.

“As if that is not enough, doctors and nurses have had to take their own uniforms and wash them at home by hand, which is not ethical especially because we work in theatre, and sometimes this delays theatre proceedings,” added the source.

Health director Gerbhardo Timotheus admitted that they do in fact use a private laundry service since the Okakarara washing machines have not been operating since he took over as the health director in Otjozondjupa region last year.

“I can admit that we use a private laundry service for our laundry. There is a challenge with the machines, they are broken, actually the machines have been broken since I took over on December 5 2019,” he said.

He however added that they received bedding in April 2020 from the government.

“I can confirm that we received bedding in April during those first few days of lockdown, however I do not know if they were enough. I do not know which hospitals they were sent to, so I cannot tell you if there is a scarcity of bedding or not at the moment so in other words I cannot deny, nor can I confirm that patients are sleeping without bedding.”

Timotheus added that the problem might have been exacerbated due to Covid-19 and the borders being closed, however, he is hoping that this situation will be resolved once borders open.

“I am optimistic that we will receive more bedding when the borders open and things go back to normal”.