Shortage of ambulances in Otjozondjupa turning into crisis

The Otjozondjupa Regional Health Director, Gebhardo Timotheus on Wednesday described the shortage of ambulances in the region as reaching crisis level.

Timotheus told Nampa in an interview on Wednesday that all the four ambulances stationed at major State hospitals at Otjiwarongo, Grootfontein, Okahandja and Okakarara are broken down.

‘These ambulances are old with high mileages of about 500 000 kilometres, which is a big risk to patients and our drivers,’ he said.

Timotheus further stated that 90 per cent of the Otjozondjupa health directorate budget since 2022 has been channelled towards maintenance and repair of these unreliable and breakdown-prone ambulances of the four district hospitals.

He warned that the situation is dire as the only ambulance, based at Tsumkwe, is sometimes recalled to assist at the Grootfontein, Otjiwarongo and Okahandja State hospitals.

‘Worse at some points when we receive emergency calls of accidents on the B1 road while we have a broken ambulance at Otjiwarongo. This really
worries us a lot as one day we might fail to respond and result in a nation losing many people’s lives,’ he said.

Otjozondjupa Governor, James Uerikua on Monday when he received at his office a delegation of medical doctors working for the United States of America’s (US) Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Namibia, also expressed similar concerns.

Uerikua urged the delegation to consider through discussions the critical health needs including the lack of ambulances at the four health administrative districts in the region.

On his part on 16 April 2024 at the ground-breaking for the construction activities of the Ombili clinic in Otjiwarongo, Executive Director in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe announced that his ministry intends during this 2024/2025 financial year to purchase 20 ambulances, and that Otjozondjupa Region would also benefit once they are distributed.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency