Sunday, January 21, 2018
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The National Hospital has issued a directive to doctors not to attend to patients with common illnesses such as headaches, coughs and colds.

National Hospital’s Clinical Director, Flavio Brandão, said people were continuing to seek treatment for common complaints at the national hospital.

The directive was issued in 2016 with the aim of improving secondary health care services at the hospital and to give more responsibility to health centres.


However, the National Hospital’s Clinical Director, Flavio Brandão, said people were continuing to seek treatment for common complaints at the hospital as they were unaware or dissatisfied with the policy.


He said patients often refused to go to their closest health centre because they distrusted the doctors there.


“Those coming to the National Hospital [for treatment] should bring letter of referral from a health centre doctor,” he said at his office in Bidau, Dili.

He also called on health authorities in the municipalities to raise awareness to communities that the National Hospital only provides emergency treatment and secondary health care for heart problems and other serious diseases.


He also recommended the Dili Municipality Health Authority strengthen the services provided by health centres to ensure communities were receiving quality treatment.


Statistics show that 85% of patients who receive treatment at the National Hospital are patients from health centres.


Meanwhile, hospital patient Amelia da Silva from Viqueque municipality said she was refused an ultrasound at the National Hospital because she did not have a referral letter from her doctor.


“I am here for an ultrasound test because I am sick, but they said I should bring a referral letter from the [local] health centre, but I didn’t do that because I didn’t know,” she said.


She said that unfortunately she must now return to her municipality to obtain a referral letter so that she can access treatment at the National Hospital.


Head of the Dili Municipality Health Authority Agostinha da Costa acknowledged that efforts to raise awareness were not adequate, but they continued to remind communities and encourage them to trust local health personnel.


“Health personnel also have a responsibility to share information, particularly before attending to the patients, first in relation to the health problem and services,” she said.


She said information was shared door-to-door, at health centres and health posts rather than social media or television because there was no budget for that.


However, she said local health authorities planned to inform community leaders about diseases and prevention strategies so that they can help share information in the sukus (villages).

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