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This week in the Khuta – All is not well at the city hospitals

Nurses are regarded as the protectors of the ill, the caretakers of those that are bedridden and the caring people who took an oath to serve the sick strangers that come to their aid. Basically, nurses are our sisters and brothers from another mother. So whenever you don’t feel well, nurses are just a call away. But it seems lately that our sisters and brothers from another mother have forgotten their role as the caring siblings and their actions have cost lives of innocent people.
Recently, there have been reports about maternal deaths of a mother and two babies as a result of negligence at the hands of the nurses at both city hospitals. Two innocent babies who never got the chance to explore life’s adventures and the poor mother who never got to see her now-deceased baby. One would think this was a scene from the ER series but sadly, it is all very real and very local. The incidents have affected the relatives of the deceased.
Any expecting mother will automatically think twice about going to deliver their baby at any of the two hospitals, which are assumed to be more affordable compared to the private hospitals. Not to say that incidents such as these do not occur at private hospitals, but at least the service rendered there, lives up to expectations of proper health care delivery. State hospital nurses have over the years complained about being over-worked and under-paid, so maybe these are contributing factors to the latest incidents. In the public view, and on the contrary, most people tend to think nurses at state hospitals are just plain lazy and let the student nurses do all their work.
Then you get some rude nurses who act as if they have no heart in their chests and shout at patients. I once observed a scene where a nurse at a state hospital literally shouted some obscene words at an elderly sick man who seemed drunk and had deep cuts on his forehead. Communication skills are also lacking from our state nurses. Some nurses, especially the younger ones, will strut through the wards like their Namibia’s next top model, without so much as a hello or “how can I help you?” Don’t even bother to ask for assistance as the answer remains the same, “I am busy, go to the next one!” I am yet to find out what is keeping them so busy that they keep stalling to help patients, because state hospitals queues are unbearable. Let me not even get started with the hygiene at these hospitals because that’s another story on its own.
I understand that state nurses work under a lot of pressure, especially with the shortage of nurses the country is experiencing, but can we allow more accidents to happen simply because of some hospital staff experiencing burnout? It’s simple really: Government can employ the many graduate nurses and provide shifts so that each nurse can take some time off. Government also needs to conduct an investigation in the operations of these hospitals and possibly also assess the level of quality health care and provide intervention at every hospital and clinic to avoid such unfortunate incidents in future.
Drastic change is urgently needed to restore the reputation of the state hospitals because not many people can afford the luxury of being treated at private hospitals.

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