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Capacitating Namibia with medical care

2022-05-12  Paheja Siririka

Capacitating Namibia with medical care

Thirty-nine Egyptian medical experts and specialists in various fields are currently in the country to provide healthcare services to Namibians over a period of one week.

They arrived on Friday, and are already examining patients, dispensing medication, doing surgeries and fitting prostatic legs and arms, among other medical care services.

Egyptian ambassador Wael Lotfy told Vital Signs the world is going through a lot, and priority should be given to Africa, and they aim to address the local shortage in the medical field.  

“This team brought with medicine worth N$10 million; they are going to conduct surgeries and provide primary healthcare, especially to children,” he said.

This is the seventh convoy of medical practitioners coming to assist in the country’s medical needs over several years. 

They are here through the Coptic Medical Association of North America (CMANA) and the Egyptian Coptic Church. 

The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the largest Christian denominations in Egypt and the Middle East.  The church played a pivotal role in the Arab Renaissance and the modernisation of Egypt as well the Arab world by contributing to the social, political and key debates, such as Arabism, good governance, educational reform and democracy.  There are many Coptic centres found across Sub-Saharan Africa, with Kenya hosting about 50 and 12 in South Africa. The North American medical charity that has a branch in Egypt sent the doctors to Namibia to provide medical services to underserved communities, as well as to mentor healthcare providers with education, skills and leadership on issues related to healthcare.

“Support from the Egyptian government has paved the way for the Egyptian non-governmental organisations from Egypt and other institutions to do the same,” stated Lotfy. Previously, CMANA sent several health experts, comprising physicians, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and paramedics.

“We want to perfect the model of support. We want Namibians to have the ability to make healthy and better choices. They shouldn’t have to contemplate on whether it’s better to get medicine or food to eat,” he noted.

Lotfy stated the long-term goal is to promote Egyptian medicine in Namibia and build a corporation based on mutual agreements of both nations for the benefit of the citizens. The collaboration between Namibia and Egypt dates back to pre-independence when the Arab nation trained the country’s navy and defence forces, among other aid.  “Apart from doctors, we have also trained engineers, those in the agricultural field and teachers. Namibians were also sent to Egypt for training,” he noted. During their arrival ceremony, international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, in a speech delivered on her behalf, expressed appreciation to the team for choosing Namibia as a destination to carry out the noble and charitable work of health service to Namibian nationals, particularly at this crucial time when people are still confronted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am inspired by your association’s mission and strategic objectives that are religious-driven and aimed at the wellbeing and uplifting of the livelihoods of the less privileged people at no cost,” she said. Nandi-Ndaitwah added the Egyptian Coptic Church, which is a registered member of the Council of Churches in Namibia, intends on establishing a medical and community centre in Ondangwa, Oshana region, for the youth and children. The centre will offer specific educational and health programmes as well as vocational training, targeting young and disadvantaged people to enhance their quality of life. 

“Our Constitution is clear – that people have a right to free association. As a government, we will ensure a conducive environment for your association to carry out the noble work, without hindrances,” she stated. -

2022-05-12  Paheja Siririka

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