WALVIS BAY, 16 MAR – The family of a 32-year-old man from Walvis Bay who died of Tuberculosis on Wednesday, are blaming health officials for his death.
Speaking to Nampa at the family house in Kuisebmond where Naeman Gabriel died, his cousin Liina Shiweda said Gabriel’s death could have been avoided if his case had been treated with more urgency.
She alleged that Gabriel had been back and forth between clinics and the Walvis Bay State Hospital for more than two weeks and was just given painkillers.
Shiweda said the doctors and nurses told Gabriel he had to wait for test results, which they only got the day after he died.
“The process of getting the test results and getting proper treatment is too long; people die while waiting for results,” she said.
She also said patients who are gravely ill should be treated with more urgency and should not be sent back home without the proper medication, or be made to wait.
“My cousin was never admitted to the hospital. Every time we went there they told us to come home and he would stay in bed, sick,” Shiweda said.
Also speaking to this news agency at the family house was community activist Kenneth Iilonga, who suggested that two to three doctors should be stationed at clinics and hospitals at all times.
“There are always long queues at the clinics and hospital. People come at 09h00 and leave around 16h00. When is Government going to change this so that people can be treated on time?” the activist asked.
Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku told Nampa on enquiry Thursday there could be various reasons why the patient was not admitted, reasons which he does not know.
While sympathising with the family, the minister acknowledged that there is a lack of communication between medical staff and patients.
“To avoid these kind of complaints and accusations we need to communicate openly to patients regarding their illness,” he said in Swakopmund.
He said it is true that it takes a while for the results of Tuberculosis tests to be finalised, but said explaining it properly to patients would help.
“Sometimes if you see the illness is beyond your knowledge, tell the patient we are trying to find out what the problem is, do not just send them home,” he advised medical personnel.
Haufiku also used the opportunity to request that doctors and nurses be more friendly and helpful towards patients.
He said some staff at State hospitals and clinics do not communicate with patients at all.
“Even when you are going to lunch tell them: ‘We are breaking for lunch, we will be back soon’, instead of just leaving people in the queue and disappearing,” Haufiku said.
The minister was in the Erongo Region on a two-day outreach programme which started on Wednesday.
It is aimed at better equipping the medical staff in the regions, especially doctors, with the skills to operate patients with tonsils and remove them.