No intensive care units in Omaheke

27 April 2020 | Health

The Omaheke regional council is concerned about the lack of an intensive care unit (ICU) in
the region.
During a Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee (RDRMC) meeting held in Gobabis
last week, Omaheke regional director of health and social services, Jeremia Shikulo, made a
presentation on the region’s preparedness and response to the outbreak of Coronavirus in
the country.
He said there is no ICU facility in the region and therefore there is also no ventilator. Shikulo
added that ICU facilities are normally just at referral hospitals as they require specialist
medical personnel to run such facilities and the Omaheke region does not have a referral
“In case a patient requires ICU admission, arrangements are made with Windhoek hospitals
to admit the patient. Nonetheless, not all positive cases would need ICU admission,” Shikulo
However, the lack of an ICU facility in the region worries the regional leaders.
Council chairperson Ignatius Kariseb says the region needs to be prepared to treat patients
who may require ICU admission instead of relying solely on referral hospitals. “What if we
get a Covid-19 patient in the region who requires intensive care and the ICU facilities in
Windhoek are full?” he wanted to know.
Omaheke regional governor Pijoo Nganate suggested that the region start preparing for an
ICU facility to ensure that no human life is lost due to Covid-19 or any future life-threatening
The RDRMC agreed that the office of the governor should start engaging both the private
and public health sector for the region to acquire an ICU facility.
Screening points
Shikulo said that the regional directorate of health and social services has begun with Covid-
19 screening at the Gobabis district hospital and at the Trans-Kalahari border post, which
have been identified as the hotspots for surveillance. All other health facilities are
implementing triage, a process of determining treatment for patients based on their
Three environmental health officials and two nurses have been deployed to the Trans-
Kalahari border post for surveillance, under the coordination and supervision of a senior
health programme officer. The surveillance team will conduct an active case search at all
health facilities in the region and screen all inmates in police cells and at the Gobabis
correctional facility.
This exercise will be done once sufficient thermo guns have been received from the ministry
of health and social services’ head office.
The regional directorate of health, however, has a limited number of vehicles and
ambulances in running condition.
Five vehicles have been requested from head office, but they have not yet been availed. In
the meantime, the Gobabis government garage has assigned four pick-ups, a bus and two
drivers for Covid-19 logistics in the region.

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