RUNDU – The Kavango East and Kavango West communities have relayed their discontent at the delays in completing the construction of public health facilities in the region, despite work having started in 2012.
The incomplete primary health care clinics (PHCs) include Shamaturu in Kavango East, Gcaruhwa and Nkurenkuru in Kavango West.
Construction work started in 2012 but contractors had difficulty in finishing the projects. The projects were affected by the 2016/17 fiscal consolidation decsion of governmenrt when finance minister Calle Schlettwein suggested that all projects on tender should be put aside.
“We don’t build these clinics ourselves,” said health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula. “We budget for them and successful bidding contractors are awarded the tender to build the clinics. At Shamaturu, Gcaruhwa and Nkurenkuru, contractors abandoned the sites. They left because they were unable to execute the work due to certain reasons,” Shangula revealed when he visited the sites recently.
In 2012 the ministry of health had five projects in the then Kavango Region where makeshift clinics were to be upgraded to modern facilities.
The clinics were Shadikongoro, Ncaute, Shamaturu – all in Kavango East; while Gcaruhwa, Gwatjinga and Nkurenkuru in Kavango West were to get new PHC clinics.
Of the six evisaged clinics, Shangula inaugurated three complete ones last week at Shadikongoro, Ncaute and Gwatjinga.
“We need to find new funds to restart the incomplete projects and we are suffering a financial prejudice and the patients are suffering from lack of service,” Shangula said.
“The minister has heard our complaints and we want him to know that we want the projects completed in order to deliver the needed health services. Gcaruhwa residents, where we now are, walk more than 20km to get to the nearest clinic because their clinic has been left incomplete by the contractor,” said Kavango West regional governor Sirkka Ausiku during the minister’s visit.
“During the recent presidential town hall meetings we took President Hage Geingob and his delegation to the Nkurenkuru PHC and whilst there the president also told the health minister to look into the incomplete project and see that it gets completed, so based on that directive the minister visited the site again today with his technical staff so we hope to see progress,” Ausiku added.
“At Gcaruhwa the contractor had issues despite having a funding facility from DBN and DBN opted to assist to pay the suppliers directly, now for labour, as well as pay the foreman. It became a problem as the contractor could not afford to pay and as a ministry we decided to terminate the contract in 2014. But we are now working to re-advertise to get contractors on site,” said Thomas Mbeeli, deputy director for planning, policy and infrastructure at the health ministry.