ODIBO - A new maternal shelter has been opened at Odibo in the Ohangwena region by Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
The shelter has been funded by fishing company Tunacor at a cost of N$3.1 million. Another fishing company, Escalate, also donated and constructed a new boundary fence around the St Mary’s Odibo mission premises, which accommodates the local school, the Anglican church and hospital, to the tune of N$650 000.
Speaking at the occasion, Nandi-Ndaitwah said the new security fence will provide effective security, protection and access control over the premises. “I would like to thank Escalate Investment and Tunacor for this important donation, and call on individuals, institutions and the private sector to come on board to assist in the recovery of the St Mary’s mission,” she said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the international relations minister, added that the school and hostel infrastructure at Odibo are dilapidated and require urgent renovation. She said apart from educating the local communities, the St Mary’s mission played a very important role in the provision of health services to Namibians as well as to Angolan citizens who frequent the facility for healthcare.
“I wish to remind people that this centre was founded on the principles and values of Christianity, and particularly those of the Anglican church. However, I have noted that those values are diminishing. If you choose a cake, you must eat it. Why send your child to a church school if you don’t believe in Christian values? This question has to be answered by both the teaching staff and anybody working with this centre,” she stressed.
Former First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba paid glowing tribute to Tunacor for funding the much-needed maternal shelter, as well as Escalate for helping secure the Odibo mission.
“I made the necessary consultations in search of funding so that expectant mothers from the surrounding villages can stay in a better and safe environment while waiting to deliver their babies,” she said.
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula observed that the main factors that prevent women from receiving or seeking treatment during pregnancy and childbirth include poverty and long distances to health facilities.
Therefore, in order to improve maternal health, barriers that limit access to quality maternal services must be identified and addressed at both health system and societal levels.
“I am encouraging women to make full use of this facility so that we improve health outcomes, especially in the area of maternal and infant health,” the politician said.