A gesture to bring health services closer to the residents of Amperbo in the Hardap region has been stalled due to technicalities. The building, which was supposed to serve as a clinic, was constructed four years ago but remains non-operational.
The clinic, which was constructed at a cost of N$305 000, is an initiative of Gibeon constituency councillor Jeremiah van Neel after a two-year-old child died from a scorpion bite on the way to the Mariental hospital about 100 kilometres from the small village.
According to Van Neel, funds to construct a clinic in Amperbo were made available through the Hardap Regional Council’s rural development programme for residents to have access to medical services when faced with medical emergencies. The building plan was approved in 2014.
He said the technically skilled community members were identified to construct the building through the cash or food-for-work initiative and construction was completed in 2015. A resolution was taken by the Hardap Regional Council to donate the building to the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
“I have done my part as the elected councillor; the people can see the project – the building is there and everything is in order. I have promised my people and I have brought the clinic to Amperbo. The technical part is done; it is only the administration part that is left,” said Van Neel.
Acting deputy director at the Hardap Regional Council Petrus Skrywer said the delay is caused by paperwork for approval from treasury for the building to be transferred to the ministry of health. He said experts from the ministries of works and health need to inspect the building to see whether it meets the requirements to operate as a fully-fledged health centre.
“Our people in the region are ready anytime; they can go and do the assessments but without the presence of the experts from the ministry of health in Windhoek that should advise on the additional extensions to be made to the building, the process is stalled because of the lockdown,” he added.
Skrywer further said he could not comment on why the process to finalise the handing over of the building took as long as it did, as he was not part of administration at the Hardap Regional Council head office during that time.
“When I took office, I started involving the administrative support staff from that constituency and I started driving [it] so that this process can be finalised in time. This project is long overdue; public funds were invested for this project,” said Skrywer.
“After the lifting of the lockdown, I will make sure that this project is finalised and the building is handed over to the health ministry so that this clinic can be operational before the end of the year,” he added.
The director of health, Yvonne Stepahnus, declined to comment.