The x-ray machine at the Grootfoontein State Hospital has been not been functioning for more than 20 months, forcing patients to be transferred to Tsumeb in the Oshikoto Region for radiography services.
Timoteus Gebhardo, regional health director of Otjozondjupa, confirmed that the machine has been out of service, saying that the hospital is addressing the problem.
“It is indeed true that Grootfontein x- ray machine is not functional since last year, it’s going to be two years in December. It’s really a burden to us. I understand that the machine was ordered from overseas and was supposed to have arrived in March this year, but due to the war in Ukraine it only arrived in June and still needs setting up,” he stated
Gebhardo expressed his sympathy to the patients who must be transported to Tsumeb for radiography services.
“Patients are transported between Tsumeb and Grootfontein back and forth just for radiography services and it affects them badly. It causes discomfort to patients.” he said.
He stated that the lack of an x-ray machine is at a significant financial cost to the government due to increased fuel costs and a lack of properly functioning vehicles.
“It has been a challenge to us as a region. To start with we don’t have vehicles, which is a serious crisis. Our vehicles are very old and prone to breakdowns, this includes the ambulances that are transporting patients to Tsumeb,” he added.
The Grootfontein hospital has five vehicles, but only one is functional; hence, the hospital uses the Namibian Defence Force ambulance.
Another official of the region said the x-ray machine was installed more than 20 years ago, thus it is beyond its lifespan.
A patient who was recently transported to Tsumeb for an x-ray, said that the trip was very uncomfortable and that the long sitting exacerbated the pain in her leg.
‘’I had to sit in the ambulance for nearly an hour with my broken leg, and it was very uncomfortable. To make matters worse, I was not immediately assisted in Tsumeb and had to wait a while before receiving help. It is very inconvenient for us patients,’’ said the patient who asked to remain anonymous.