Monday, January 24, 2022

Seakgosing rebukes health workers as councilors complain of poor service

Minister of Health, Rev Dr John Seakgosing recently challenged the Ngamiland District Health Management Team (DHMT) to up their service standards and always be considerate to patients when providing health services. He challenged health sector employees to always remember their medical ethics and never forget that theirs is a mammoth task in which people’s lives are at stake.

“You have been adequately trained and the expectation is that you should always act in accordance with the demands of your job. You are nurses and doctors and you should conduct yourselves accordingly,” he said.

Seakgosing’s tongue lashing came after councilors raised numerous complaints about poor service and unprofessional conduct by employees of Letsholathebe II memorial hospital. The councilors also complained about failure by the hospital and other health facilities in the Ngamiland area to provide drugs to patients, which results in patients being sent from pillar to post in search of drugs. The councilors also told the Minister that a number of patients in catchment areas have had complications after undergoing safe male circumcision, adding that health officials have repeatedly failed to provide transport for such patients to travel to Maun for assistance. They called on the Minister to investigate why many patients die while being attended to at Letsholathebe II hospital, saying the hospital has gained a reputation as a slaughter house.

“You must look into this situation before it worsens. The hospital is quite unhygienic and it is infested with pests. That can’t be good for patients,” said the councilors.

Councilor Moetetsi Mogalakwe said they have repeatedly tabled motions calling for health posts at remote areas to be upgraded so they can have maternity wings that will service expectant mothers but to no avail. He added that there have been cases where people have died while on the way to seek medical assistance.

“The topography in most parts of Ngamiland is not favorable for travel by expectant mothers,” said Mogalakwe.

In response, Seakgosing said all health employees have repeatedly been told that no patient should be turned away just because public health facilities cannot dispense drugs.

“Your task is simple because you already know where the drugs are likely to be and you have all the liberty to call the warehouse. This is not a joke, and so you need to hold fast to it,” he said.

On the issue of poor hygiene, Letsholathebe II hospital superintendent, Dr Maxwell Mungisi admitted that management is aware of the problem of pests at the hospital and promised to do everything in his power to bring them under control. He added that the problem of shortage of blankets at the hospital has been normalized and there are enough blankets and other consumables at the supplies department.

“Every member of staff knows where to get what they need. It is just an issue of certain individuals not adequately executing their duties,” said Mungisi.

Responding to concerns that too many patients lose their lives at Letsholathebe II, Mungisi said hospital personnel always try to save patients lives. He added that operations have their own indications, depending on how long a patient has been suffering from a condition. He gave an example of appendicitis, which he said is very deadly and could cause death if it is not responded to well in time.

Meanwhile, Seakgosing reminded councilors that they are also stakeholders and urged them not to always fault the hospital, but rather work on rendering help and coming out with solutions. He also urged expectant mothers to always make sure that they are close to health facilities that have maternity wings and to also keep track of their delivery dates. Besides Letsholathebe II referral hospital, the Ngami DHMT oversees seventeen health posts and eleven clinics, four of which have maternity wings. It also offers specialized services in the fields of gynecology, general medicine, general surgery, obstetrics, oncology, general pediatrics, ear nose and throat and a few others. On the other hand, the Okavango DHMT has one district hospital in Gumare, ten clinics, seven of them with maternity wings, as well as eighteen health posts.


Read this week's paper