ADAM HARTMAN and ESTER MBATHERA
NAMIBIANS quarantined at state facilities in the Erongo region have complained about the state of these facilities, saying many are not up to standard.
patient who spent two weeks in the Walvis Bay State Hospital Covid-19
isolation ward after testing positive earlier this month, has described
the treatment at the ward as traumatic.
He says it exposes Namibia’s lack of capacity to deal with a local spike in Covid-19 infections.
The patient, who prefers to remain anonymous, says it was hard to understand why patients who are not ill are obliged to spend time “locked up” in isolation.
After learning he tested positive for Covid-19, health officials accompanied by the police arrived at his house demanding that he be taken to the isolation ward immediately, he says.
His wife and children were also ordered to go to a quarantine facility, and the family pets were taken to the SPCA.
“What is the point of leaving our house? It is safer for us and others [to stay], and it puts less strain on the state. It would make more place available for those who do not have such privileges,” he says.
Another patient says the isolation facility he was taken to after testing positive was not up to scratch.
He says he is a member of a medical aid fund and would have preferred to go to a private hospital.
“I would have been better off at home until I start showing symptoms. We are going to get sick and die in this place. There are four of us in a room, and eight of us share a shower and toilet and we have no disinfectants,” he says.
Yet another patient, who is currently at a state facility, says: “I have been here for over two weeks and have been sleeping under the same blankets. They don’t even give us washing powder to wash our clothes. The only things they gave us are hand sanitiser and one mask each, which I’ve been wearing since I got here,” the patient says.
Another isolated Covid-19 patient says they spend most of the day lying in bed with no space to exercise.
“Those with data are usually following the news on WhatsApp. If I knew, I would have brought my laptop with me so I could watch movies,” he says.
The patients claim the only “medication” they receive is a daily dose of Vitamin C.
Erongo principal medical officer Dr Amir Shaker told The Namibian all patients are obliged to go to a state facility to ensure the virus is not spread further.
“There is a need to be responsible, and state facilities can help ensure that,” Shaker says.
Deputy executive director of health and social services Bertha Katjivena last week said current regulations state that all quarantining and isolation must be at a state facility.
“We will bring this matter up,” she said regarding patients’ complaints.
Audrey Gaes, acting chief social worker for the Erongo region, says social workers counsel people before they are taken to these facilities, as the experience is traumatic.
In fact, more social workers may be required to assist as cases increase, she says.
“We are in the middle – between the patient and the state. We see what is happening, and it is always good to see the experience from both sides,” she says.