Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in Francistown is one the biggest hospitals in Botswana and has attracted negative publicity since it opened its doors.
Some call it the death trap while others nickname it a place of no return due to the alleged high number of people who die while admitted at the hospital. The hospital has always been accused of treating its clients badly though in the past the hospital management tried to turn it around.
Last week the hospital was put on the radar by Member of Parliament for Francistown West Ignatius Moswaane who asked the Minister of Health Dorcus Makgato if she is aware that the hospital has a large number of registered deaths. The outspoken Francistown West legislator also wanted to know the number of deaths registered at the hospital from 2010 until 2015.
It was clear that Moswaane’s question wanted to establish whether the allegations of Nyangabgwe hospital being labelled slaughter house are true. Giving the answer, Minister Makgato informed parliament that 116,515 were admitted at the hospital from 2010 to March 2015 in which they registered 6467 deaths. The statistics showed that the number of registered death were consistent between 6% and 5%.
Makgato was quick to add that hospitals and clinics in the northern part of Botswana refer critically ill patients, some with poor prognosis, to Nyangabgwe hospital for specialist treatment. “Furthermore, registered deaths in the referral hospital also include those that have been brought in dead (BID),” said Makgato.
One of the concerns about the Francistown based referral hospital was the problem of congestion which sometimes forces some inpatients to sleep on the floor.
The hospital, according to Minister of Health, has a 542 bed capacity and currently bed occupancy is about 80%. She added that there are some specialized wards like antenatal ward which has 30 beds. She acknowledged that they do have patients sleeping on mattresses on the floor when the bed capacity in the ward is exceeded.
There have been concerns that most out patients prefer to go to referral hospital rather than clinics due to shortage of medications at the latter thus leading to congestions.
The average statistics for outpatients currently visiting the hospital on a daily basis in 2015 is 400 patients per day, said Makgato noting that figures varies on public holidays.
To try and decongest the referral hospital, Makgato said they will relocate orthopaedic and ophthalmology services from Nyangabgwe to Mahalapye and Serowe hospitals.