Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva-President Hage Geingob has directed the Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku to adhere to the Cabinet Committee on Overall Policy and Priorities (CCOPP) decision to construct a referral hospital at Ondangwa. The much-deliberated hospital will now be constructed to serve the six northern regions, namely Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Omusati, Kunene and part of Kavango West. In a letter dated February 9, Geingob said he was puzzled by the minister’s insistence on exploring alternative sites outside the jurisdiction of Ondangwa town, while Cabinet had already decided on the matter. “Comrade Minister, as you are aware, the government – through CCOPP – has taken a political decision to ensure that the Northern Academic Referral Hospital is situated in Ondangwa or its surrounding area, as a means of sustaining the town’s development,” reads the letter. The letter is a response to the health minister’s letter addressed to the governor of Oshana Region, Clemens Kashuupulwa. Apart from the CCOPP resolution, the Oshana leadership had last year also taken a decision that the hospital be built in Ondangwa following Oshakati and Ongwediva being at loggerheads over where the hospital is to be built. The minister over the weekend, at the Namibian Surgical Society laparoscopic workshop, remarked that he was not happy with the way the hospital issue has taken a political turn. He said people are likely to suffer while the process is prolonged by political forces. The minister was last week expected in the north to deliberate on the hospital – however the meeting could not take place as scheduled. In the letter addressed to Kashuupulwa, dated the last day of January this year, Haufiku said he was going to lead a high-level team from the head office to visit the seven sites as identified by the technical team comprising of architects and health facility planners. The technical team had identified four sites in Ondangwa and three within Ongwediva jurisdiction. The minister further said the meetings following the first consultation in Ongwediva do not take away the fact that the people of these six northern regions and others need a level A tertiary health institution equivalent to, or just a bit bigger, than Windhoek Central Hospital. “Such a hospital should and therefore must be planned, built and managed on sound scientific recommendations and technical advice. Only then can we be assured of value financial investment and lasting equality,” reads Haufiku’s letter. The mayor of Ondangwa, Paavo Amwele, was ecstatic about the news, saying their fight was not in vain. “We are very happy because the hospital will be of great benefit to the development of the town and also create employment for our people. The hospital will also bring health services closer to the people,” said Amwele. Ondangwa currently does not have a hospital, but a dilapidated clinic whose renovation was put on hold as the ministry had plans to build an intermediate hospital before the referral hospital came into the picture.
2018-02-28 09:36:55 6 months ago