The Shambyu Health Centre in the Kavango East Region still caters to the health needs of the community, despite a number of issues hampering quality service delivery.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development, and Family Affairs engaged staff members at the centre to familiarise themselves with their concerns.

Despite the fact that the centre is plagued with a myriad of issues, regional leadership is convinced that most of the problems hampering quality service delivery are not unique to it alone.

From the information that was shared, it seems like the health centre is dealing with every problem under the sun.

Staff members say there is a serious shortage of medication, often having to wait up to three months for their orders, and when the medication eventually arrives, they only receive 40% of what they ordered.

The centre does not have gloves, and they have resorted to hiding the few gloves they have for extreme emergencies.

The staff also admitted that they sometimes have to use unsafe methods, particularly during delivery, due to the lack of gloves.

The Shambyu Health Centre has run out of malaria testing kits; the lack of appropriate infrastructure means that there is no privacy among various patients; they don't have an isolation room; and the nurses buy their own uniforms.

The health centre does not have a pharmacist or a medical officer, despite being open 24 hours a day.

Staff also admitted that pre- and postnatal services are poor.

There are no transport services, and if the centre does call for an ambulance, the fleet is so old that sometimes medical vehicles break down while transporting patients.

Those who work here say they are understaffed and overworked, and this is preventing them from providing quality health services to the community.

Acting Health Director in Kavango East, Waita Kapumburu, told the parliamentarians that a number of issues have to be sorted out, including reviewing some of the government's procurement procedures.

He also said the government needs to review its agreement with the Catholic Health Services in terms of infrastructure so it becomes more responsive to the needs of the community.

Even though the Shambyu Health Centre falls under Catholic Health Services, it is 100% subsidised by the government.

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nbc Digital News


Frances Shaahama