The litany of stinky kitchen politics continues at the Onandjokwe State Hospital. This comes after hospital management this week informed this publication that government has decided to extend the services of the catering company that feeds Onandjokwe patients until September 2018.
The much irked contract, which was awarded to the catering company Clouds Trading in 2013 expired last month but the ministry decided to extend it despite the outcry over the quality of food given to patients.
The hospital’s kitchen reeks of displeasure to both the nurses and the especially patients as they are at the receiving end of ill-prepared food. Regrettably, these complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Key to the complaints is the fact that hospital cleaning personnel is being tasked to feed patients.
The hospital has been under-fire on numerous occasions over mishaps which have compromised the quality of healthcare on offer at the facility which caters for thousands of northerners who cannot afford private healthcare.
In essence, after a long shift of dusting the seating benches, cleaning of blood-stained floors and collecting bedpans, cleaners are required to shift chores to handling food. The unhygienic walls have become breeding grounds for stray cats and cockroaches that have a bite of their daily meal at any moment a plate is left open.
The Patriot engaged the hospital management early this year and the heads of departments confirmed knowledge of the unpleasant situation. Hospital superintendent Akutu Munyika told this publication that the contract was to come to an end. Munyika at the time also informed that they had made a submission to government for either the renewal or appointment of the new catering company with clear specifications that fit the standards as seen in other hospitals. This somehow brought relief and hope to those at the receiving end of the catering company’s inhumane services, thinking change would finally surface after 31 March 2018.
“The government has extended the contracts to the same catering services to September 2018,” said Amunyika this week.
“Despite our submission as management, we have no choice but to wait for the government procedures to be completed. So the current contract has been extended to September. It is not clear when the process of appointing the new or renewing the current contract will be done. The Ministry’s PRO might have more information on this point.
All these processes take place at the central level,” he added.
Nurses at the hospital privy to the situation expressed concern over the extension of the contract saying it is inhuman to put patients at the hands of people who do not have any regards for their health.
“We complain about the unhygienic environments where food is prepared but nothing is done. The management knows that the food is bad and they would not even eat so it is strange that they still want the same company to continue to provide the same services,” said a nurse at the hospital who preferred anonymity.
It is reported that admitted patients are asked to bring their own cutlery and sometimes beddings, as the current state of linen at the hospital is in a unhygienic state of affair.
As to whether this will change considering that the same service providers are in charge, Amunyika said; “management sat with the catering company. It is in their contract with the previous administrator that they will have to share such responsibilities. Until the new terms and conditions are set in the new contracts, the situation will remain the same.”