SWAKOPMUND, 16 MAR – There has been a shortage of Hepatitis A and B medication in private and State hospitals in the Erongo Region for more than five years now, a private doctor in Swakopmund said on Thursday.
The doctor, who asked not to be named, was speaking at a meeting with Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku.
She said she has been struggling to get answers from the government with regards to why the medication is not available.
The doctor said as recently as this week, she called the health regional directorate office but her calls went unanswered.
Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver.
The acting Director of Health in the Erongo Region, Barbara van Rooyen said she has to investigate the matter before responding.
Haufiku said he is not sure what the real situation is, but promised to request a briefing from his staff in Windhoek so he can tackle the matter.
He said it could be that the medicines were not bought because there is no money, adding that the government sometimes does not have enough funds to buy all needed medicines at once.
“Sometimes it could be that there is a delay from the suppliers’ side, but we will find out where the problem lies,” said the minister.
Haufiku was in the region on Wednesday and Thursday on his ministry’s outreach programme, which amongst others aimed at taking medical services to as many people in the districts as possible, treating patients in their regions to avoid overburdening Windhoek’s State hospitals.
It also help to better equip medical staff in the regions to treat patients.
“This outreach programme is very important to me as it helps to improve the capacity at district level. Medical interns also get a chance to learn from seniors how to treat tonsillitis and do other operations,” the minister said.
Haufiku said he will continue going to all regions over the next three years to achieve the programme’s objectives.
Meanwhile, he carried out tonsillectomies in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund on Wednesday and Thursday, which he said will be done in other regions as well.
“I would like to ask that patients show up for appointments so we can carry out the operation. I do not want to show up and patients are absent,” said the minister.
Haufiku and his team are scheduled to go to Kavango East and Kavango West next week.