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By: Selma Taapopi

The Minister of Health and Social Services Dr. Kalumbi Shangula says the issue of over-crowding by lodger mothers at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital is receiving immediate attention from his Ministry.

Shangula said this in response to concerns over the high number of lodger mothers who accompany their admitted babies and toddlers to the hospital.

The health minister was responding to the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) chief whip in the National Assembly, Utaara Mootu’s concerns with regards the overall state of the health facility.

Shangula explained that the wards were originally designed to accommodate a certain number of babies and toddlers without lodger mothers, hence a decision was taken not to send mothers’ home. He said this allowed them to remain close to their admitted babies to breastfeed them, which is vital to their growth and health.

“Now let me address the issue of alleged shortage of beds, again here I wish to emphasize that the context matters. Overall, the health facilities have beds for use by patients. The challenge being experienced at the ward in question at Katutura Intermediate Hospital relates to the high number of lodger mothers who accompany admitted babies and toddlers to the hospital. Separating babies and the mothers at such a critical juncture would not be in the best interest of the recovery and bonding between mothers and their babies, it is not in the best interest of the long-term health of the babies. However, this arrangement is presenting an undesirable phenomenon in terms of security of hospital properties and damage to amenities that were designed for children, it is a matter that is receiving immediate attention” the Minister explained.

With regards to the hospital hygiene and food shortage concerns raised, Shangula said the Ministry is committed to enhancing its current systems and approaches as far as hospital sanitation goes adding that the Ministry employs in-house cleaning staff who are deployed to maintain high levels of sanitation standards across all hospital areas.

According to Shangula, a costed plan of N$16 billion was approved by the cabinet for the mobilization of additional resources to strengthen the public health system. The funds will be allocated towards the renovation, expansion, and modernization of physical infrastructure, recruitment of health professionals, and procurement of medical equipment and ambulances among other interventions.

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