*Published in the Letters section of The Namibian Newspaper, Friday 08 July 2016
I’m writing this letter in response to an article published in your paper on Tuesday 05th July 2016 titled “Mice become regulars at Katutura hospital”. Ever since I can remember there have been constant reports in all forms of media about the poor hygienic state of the hospital. Photographs of the hospital falling apart, piles of waste outside and inside, pests including cockroaches and yes, mice amongst others, are common images that can be found with a quick Google search of the hospital.
So, I’m writing in response of this article not because I’m shocked at what has been written but rather; because I cannot believe that this has been allowed to continue for so long that these reports are no longer shocking.
The article mentioned that the hospital has been fumigated so often that the mice have now developed immunity to the chemicals. The solution provided for that was that new chemicals would be used in the next round of fumigation. The article quoted Pest control expert, Jannie Coetzee saying “It will only get worse. There is a problem with waste management, and the whole situation presents a place for breeding mice.”
That is the real problem! The solution is not to get stronger or different chemicals to kill the mice, the solution is to stop allowing the hospital to be a breeding place for mice in the first place. Simply put; the hospital needs to be clean. As a hospital, one would think that is its most basic requirement.
On the 27th January 2015, your paper published an article titled “Katutura hospital overwhelmed” which spoke about a lack of beds, staffing and facilities. It was acknowledged by hospital management that there are simply not enough beds and rooms. As a result of this, people are sleeping in corridors and on mattresses on the floor.
Imagine for a minute that you are sick or injured enough for there to be a need for you to be hospitalised. So, you’re sleeping on a mattress or in a corridor or both. On top of that, there are mice running around. How is anyone expected to heal in a hospital that is infested with rodents and all the diseases they carry?
Perhaps the availability of beds and rooms cannot be resolved today or tomorrow but cleanliness surely can. There are many people who are already employed at the hospital as cleaners. Cleaning materials are inexpensive. So why is the hospital still in a condition bad enough to breed mice? All it really takes is for hospital management to ensure that the people employed to clean the hospital, to actually clean it. Cleanliness, isn’t that the most basic requirement for a hospital?