MAUN: Residents staying within the proximity of Matshwane clinic, an isolation centre for COVID-19 positive cases, have been assured that the facility and its surroundings are the safest places and should not cause panic.
The well- equipped facility is situated in a built-up area known as Matshwane ward and is surrounded by homesteads and a busy road which connects it to the rest of Maun.
Recent talk has been that people have been uncertain on whether they should continue using the clinic as it has other sections housed in some premises where COVID 19 cases are admitted while under observation, amongst them the outpatients and sugar diabetes departments where people are allowed to consult every day.
Head of Ngami District Health Management Team Dr Malebogo Kebabonye said at a meeting recently that although they do not encourage people to go near the isolated part of the clinic, they should bear in mind that this does not necessarily mean the clinic or health personnel working there are a health scare.
She said a decision was made that part of the clinic should be a protected area and used for the intended purpose only.
Fear mounted when the clinic started receiving and admitting COVID-19 positive people. Residents and users are said to have lodged complaints and made their concerns known to the village leadership who tried at different forums to convince them that the place is not by any chance a high-risk area.
Kebabonye stated that people should be aware of the fact that it is not the first time that they have had to attend to patients diagnosed with communicable diseases as they still have people undergoing tuberculosis treatment at Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital, all of who are cared for at an isolated TB ward in the same hospital where they also admit people with different ailments.
“We always take it upon ourselves to make sure that we have all the needed resources in place so as to protect our patients and those around them. This is the case even in all our hospitals country wide since we receive people with communicable diseases from time time. The only difference now is that as a DHMT we had to deal with a new pandemic which we are equally struggling to identify with”, said Kebabonye.
As if not enough she said the hostility at Matshwane centre has become so deep that even their staff has complained of being stigmatized even by the people they meet on the streets, adding that this now calls for rigorous public education so that people may stop being doubtful.
Kebabonye noted also that because of the vastness of the district in which they operate, there is a dire need for more medical personnel particularly doctors. As it stands now, she said there are only twelve non-specialized doctors at Letsholathebe Memorial and an additional six deployed at the various in clinics in Maun.
Because of the growing need for their services and the escalating number of people seeking medical services at the district hospital, she said they constantly rotate the available doctors between the hospital and the clinics even though it is never enough.
“The district is growing at a rapid stage and so is the need for health services, hence the need for more hands. Currently we operate with just fifty percent and our wish is to have at least twenty-four doctors at the hospital only, considering we also want to be on high alert to beat COVID 19 as well as to have an uninterrupted health service delivery”.
Furthermore, she said the Ministry of Health has been hard hit by an acute shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health and emergency services staff as well as Oxygen, and that Ngamiland DHMT has also felt the brunt of the shortage.
She stated that they have in the past buying their medical equipment from overseas, which has now become a bit of a challenge since all countries have been affected by the pandemic and resorted to holding on to whatever they have for themselves as a result. “We have learnt a lot from this, and have been compelled to jealously guard the little that we have. We don’t want scenarios whereby our patients might need oxygen and we have none left, which is why we have spared for emergencies and COVID 19 cases because we delight in saving lives more than anything else”.