Tuesday 13 April 2021
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Katutura Hospital’s hot water dilemma

Despite the installation of solar panels at the Katutura State Hospital, most of the patients admitted at the facility are still forced to bath with cold water while others depend on relatives to bring them hot water.
The solar panels which were installed in 2009 are said to just grace the facility’s roof for mere looks but serve a minimal purpose, if any at all, for the hospital.
In an investigation by The Patriot patients confided by stating that not all wards have a permanent supply of warm water and patients have to make use of other means such as relatives bringing warm water from home in which to bath their loved ones who are admitted.
Following weeks of extreme cold weather in Windhoek, some relatives have even resorted to buying kettles which their loved ones, who are admitted in the facility to use for the boiling of water during winter. “It is cold and we know there is no warm water in the hospital. So we cannot leave things to the nurses because you will find your relative either not bathed because they had to wait for a kettle to boil water,” said Saima Haiwaka who spoke to this publication this week.
Although nurses at the hospital confirmed that there is no warm water at the facility, some have questioned the need for the solar panels on the roof of the hospital.
The hospital’s Customer Care Officer Josia Ihuhua admitted that there is no hot water, adding that it is just a “technical matter”.
Towards the end of 2008, renovations were underway at the hospital with a newly installed solar water-heating system not only at the hospital itself, but also at the nurses’ home. The new solar panels were part of the Health Ministry’s long-term renovation plan, which had already seen the replacement of all major pipes and other internal works that plagued the hospital.
“I can concur that we do not have warm water, but the situation is about the solar geyser up there.
These are just technical matters. It has been like this for close to a year now but it is only on some floors,” said Ihuhua.
Commenting on the state of the solar panels, Ihuhua said; “I will not deny or confirm that they [solar panels] are working or not, we will let the Ministry of Works and Transport answer that because they deal with all the maintenances of the hospital. I can perhaps say only some are not working because the fact is that we have warm water in some departments; this means some of them are working.”
Contrary to Ihuhua’s assertion, a source from the hospital told The Patriot that the installation of the solar panels brought little change. “You must remember that these panels were installed just months before the 2009 elections. The whole thing was just to get votes and make it seems like the ruling party was doing something. How is it that they have solar panels and there is no warm water for the patients?
We doubt those things were even connected in the first place. It is not only the solar panels. There are many projects that are started just months before elections and you do not hear them a year after those elections,” said the source.
The hospital has been in the spotlight for unending administrative breakdowns. Hygiene amongst others has for years been a bone of contention with the hospital being home to mice, cockroaches and an unbearable stench.
The hospital is also faced with an overcrowding crisis which Ihuhua said is a leading cause to the hygiene catastrophe at the hospital. “The hospital capacity is only supposed to be around 600 patients, but at times we have up to 900 patients. So when the hospital is crowded, you expect unhygienic conditions. Cockroaches come because patients leave food around. It is a two-way thing. Our public needs to meet the hospital halfway,” he said.

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