FRANCISTOWN: The ongoing construction of the Thapama interchange road popularly known as ‘Spaghetti’ is hindering easy access for patients into the city’s referral hospital, Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital (NRH).
The situation has both the hospital management and patients worried. NRH senior public relations officer, Shirley Mukamambo said they are working round the clock with the contractor to make sure that everyone who comes to the hospital has easy access.
“We are aware that access and safety in front of the hospital premises is currently compromised because the road is narrow with cars not having enough parking when they drop patients off at the hospital entrances,” said Mukamambo.
Mukamambo said that they recently aired a public announcement on Radio Botswana alerting people to be vigilant when approaching the hospital entrances because they are not easily accessible due to the ongoing road construction in front of the hospital. She stated that they have received numerous complaints from patients regarding access to the hospital.
Mukamambo said that they are currently in talks with the contractor to find a solution to the problem.
“We promise that soon their complaints will be attended to because we recently discussed this matter with the road contractors who are willing to rectify the problem,” said Mukamambo, adding that they are also considering opening another gate on the other side of the hospital, which is free from any disturbances.
She conceded that the road is bumpy and deep, which results in their clients and staff struggling to cross into the hospital.
“We know that some of our patients come to seek medical attention using crutches, wheelchairs while some are limping henceforth they cannot easily cross the road.”
Gift Sechele, a senior citizen who had difficulty going up a heap of soil in an attempt to cross the road into the hospital
“As you can see I am old and have a problem with my knees. They are painful therefore being forced to climb the heap of soil to cross the road is torture to older people like me,” said Sechele.
Thomas Hunyepa, 52, said that the road is risky and exposes patients to danger because they come to NRH with various medical conditions.
“The walkway between the hospital fence and the road is narrow and makes it difficult for patients to walk freely, especially those in crutches and wheelchairs. The road is narrow and even motorists are struggling to pave way for ambulances during emergencies,” said Hunyepa.
Hunyepa added that the contractors could have built an alternative road to be used to enter the hospital while construction of the road is ongoing.
Another senior citizen, Constance Mosweswe shared the same sentiments.
She said that the hospital management should consider coming up with other alternatives to rescue patients from the misery. North East chief roads engineer, Letlhogela Radipata said the issue is currently being addressed and they are in talks with the hospital management to come up with better alternatives for patients to easily access the hospital.
“Yes, it is true the construction of the road passing in front of NRH has compromised access into the hospital, but we are considering making a ramp using soil for people to cross easily to and from the hospital premises,” said Radipata.
Radipata said that the hospital management requested traffic lights at the hospital entrance because the road is now closer to the gate.