Keetmanshoop State Hospital's management has condemned the theft of copper pipes that compromised the supply of oxygen at the health facility.
Dr. Ife Offune, Keetmanshoop Hospital's Chief Medical Officer, says this was the second time thieves hit the health facility, stealing copper pipes.
"Before this incident, we had problems with water; the copper pipes that deliver water to strategic aspects of the hospital were stolen as well; it took us time, resources, and money to replace those; now it's the oxygen copper delivery pipes that are being targeted, and it has significantly affected critical service delivery. For instance, we have had to limit theatre procedures only to emergencies because we cannot adequately deliver oxygen through setting special connectors or because patients need procedures; also, now we have had to rely on oxygen tanks to be able to give patients in the wards."
Dr. Offune says the hospital now relies on mobile oxygen cylinders to deliver critical supplies.
"Even those cylinders are not enough for critical oxygen delivery; as I said, some patients in the theatre who will need procedures now have to connect special pipes to our cylinders, and those pipes are limited, so we have curtailed our surgical procedures. We are hoping to get more connectors for those cylinders so we can resume more optimal surgical output."
With this incident, Dr. Offune said this should be reason enough for the community to combat and fight criminal activities.
"We want the community to know the hospital is not a place to steal; they go still anywhere but in the hospital because now when you steal oxygen pipes, it could be your relative who is affected or it can even be you. You know, I just want people to know. Be our brothers; help us to help the community; we are here to deliver critical services."
The medical staff at the hospital will continue to render quality health care until the oxygen issue is back to normal, says the Chief Medical Officer.
The regional health directorate has filed a criminal charge of theft with the police.