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Residents demand more doctors at Keetmans hospital


RESIDENTS of Keetmanshoop in the ||Kharas region are demanding that more doctors are employed at the town’s state hospital.

They held a demonstration last week to express their grievances and dissapointment with service delivery at the hospital.

One of the demonstrators, Ana Musirika, said the hospital has a shortage of doctors to attend to outpatients.

“We come here to this hospital, and will sit and wait for a doctor. The whole day will pass without a doctor coming to attend to us, and we will go home and come back the next day. If you are lucky on the second day you may be attended to. But I went through this for three days, and were only attended to on the third day,” she said.

Another demonstrator, Veronica Goliath, said alleged victimisation, discrimination and bullying on regional management level led to qualified doctors and senior staff members leaving the health facility to the disadvantage of the community.

She mentioned Dr Refanus Kooper, who understood the Nama/Damara and Afrikaans languages spoken by the community, and was quick to respond to the ailments of those admitted, as well as outpatients.

“Kooper is a child of ||Kharas region. Most of our children cannot study to become doctors because there is no money and support, but he studied in Russia and is highly qualified. We want Dr Kooper back,” she said.

Kooper says he resigned from the public service as chief medical officer about two years ago.

He says he was falsely accused of verbally assaulting a female colleague, alcohol abuse, and says he was discriminated against because of his sexual orientation.

“None of the accusations such as verbal abuse and alcohol was ever proven but it was used against me. What does my sense of style and fashion and sexual orientation outside of the hospital have to do with anyone, while my conduct at work was always professional?” he says.

“However I left, because if I stayed there, the unprofessional behaviour of the management towards me would have landed me in a mental institution because of the abuse I suffered,” Kooper says.

After resigning, he says he applied for the hospital’s chief marketing officer position, and was shortlisted for interviews, and recommended by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

“But once again the regional management handed the allegations against me to the PSC to dissuade them from their recommendation, and they ended up appointing a Nigerian doctor,” he says.

||Kharas regional health director Sandra Owoses this week said she does not deal with the Keetmanshoop State Hospital, and therefore could not comment on the lack of doctors and services.

“On Dr Kooper, I can also not comment, as I’m only aware that he resigned and the PSC appointed someone else when the post was advertised again,” she said.

Acting senior medical officer Desire Ngurure says the hospital’s staff complement is generally not filled completely, and vacamt posts need to be filled.

He says since last year, clinics have on-site doctors, therefore referrals for doctors have decreased.


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