OPUWO – The setting up of the health centre for the community of Otjinungua in the Epupa constituency is being hampered by transportation to get the facilities there.
Three containers to house the clinic and two nurses’ accommodation quarters were recently delivered at the Opuwo District Hospital and now only awaits transport to Otjinungua, which is situated 300 kilometres northwest of Opuwo.
The cost of transportation is high and one needs a specialised truck to transport the containers, said Project Manager Siegfrient Bantu !Aebeb.
“The only person that can help us now is the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism. Their game capture unit is the only one with these specialised trucks,” !Aebeb explained. He said the cost of transportation to Otjinungua from Opuwo is estimated at N$ 210 000.
“We are calling on good Samaritans to extend their hand. They don’t have to give the money to us; they just have to pay directly into the (transport) company’s account. However, if nothing comes up, we are trying to source fun,” he said.
!Aebeb said people have died after falling ill and could not get medical assistance in time. When this happens, they are buried instantly. The rough terrain in Otjinungua makes it hard to access basic services such as primary health care.
“Every 10 days, there is one car passing by. If you are lucky, it’s a tourist car and a person could get transport. The area is so remote and inaccessible. It’s an area where you drive 50 kilometres for two hours,” !Aebeb explained.
There is no cellphone network to call for help. Otjinungua is also hard hit by drought.
The village has a school and the Marine Fluss Conservancy that helps the community to transport patients with their car to Opuwo or now Onjuva clinic.
Given these hardships, Marine Fluss approached Wildness Safari for help in subsidising or raise funds to establish a clinic in the village for the community.
According to Jermain Ketji, project volunteer, the idea was birthed seven years ago and volunteers with a background in similar projects were approached by the Marine Fluss conservancy manager to coordinate the project fundraising.
“The project volunteers then partnered with Hochland Round Table 145 to help raise funds and Wildness Safari has been a key sponsor of the process of coordinating and facilitating the fundraising initiative for the project,” Ketji noted.
Namport Social Investment Fund sponsored the nurse unit, while Wildness Safari, Round Table Hochland 145, Children in the Wildness, Nampower Foundation and Namport Social Investment Fund funded the clinic unit.
!Aebeb indicated that getting funding for the project was not easy given the circumstance the country is in. The project cost is estimated at N$ 500 000. The facility will be fully equipped with all medical equipment, which Bank Windhoek Namibia funded at a value of N$ 120 000. Ride for Rhinos has funded the solar plant.
Roofing and Plumbing were funded Marine Fluss conservancy.
“This is a joint initiative that brings together corporate sponsors to make small contributions to a bigger cause for a community that is really marginalised in the remote areas of the country. The project came at a time when the nation is facing challenges as the occasion by the Covid-19 challenge, which has basically highlighted the necessity and importance of each community attending to primary health care in their areas,” Ketji noted.