By: Selma Taapopi
Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, said that following the opening of a paediatric theatre today, surgeries performed on children will greatly improve. According to Shangula, the theatre at the Windhoek Central hospital will cater for the paediatric needs of the whole country. The minister made these remarks today during the donation handover of theatre equipment and consumable by the Kids Operating Room from Scotland valued at N$ 356 000.
Shangula stated that 90% of all paediatric surgical cases were previously referred to private hospitals in Namibia and South Africa at very high costs, due to the absence of a dedicated paediatric theatre, although there are three paediatric surgeons in the State.
“Having a paediatric theatre in place will not only decrease the high costs associated with patient referrals, but also decrease the morbidity in emergency surgical cases caused by the distance associated with patient transfers. The objective of the unit is to provide affordable quality paediatric surgical services that cater for the needs of the Namibian children both in state and private health sectors," said Shangula.
Shangula added that services currently offered include congenital anomaly corrections such as anorectal malformations, hirschsprung’s diseases, intestinal atresia, oesophageal artesian, procedures for children’s cancer diseases such as childhood kidney cancer (Wilms tumours), liver cancer (hepatoblastoma) and adrenal gland tumours.
Head of the Paediatric Surgery Department at the Windhoek Central Hospital Dr. Kondjela Hamunyela stated that the ministry has over the years committed to initiate programs to reduce not only morbidity and mortality of children but also costs incurred due to referring patients to the private sector.
“Prior to this date, most if not all paediatric surgical patients were operated by the adult general surgeons or referred to the private sector for surgical management,"noted Hamunyela.
Benefactor of the new Windhoek Central Hospital paediatric theatre, Chairman of the Kids Operating room in Scotland, Gareth Wood said the Kids Operating room supports the care of 40 000 children a year in Africa and the rest of the world.