OSHAKATI – The government of Japan donated close to 500 neonatal and nutritional equipment to seven northern district hospitals valued at US$800 000 (about N$9.5 million).
The equipment was handed over at Oshakati Intermediate Hospital in Oshana Region yesterday.
The equipment was supplied to help the health systems build resilience for children and families affected by drought and flooding, which is part of a tripartite agreement between the Namibian and Japanese governments and Unicef.
Ambassador of Japan to Namibia Hedeaki Harada said the projects target mothers, children and vulnerable members in regions repeatedly affected by flood and drought.
Harada said the donation will improve the health and nutritional status of the most vulnerable communities.
“It is Japan’s own experience that investing in mothers and children would contribute to poverty reduction, economic growth and prosperity,” said Harada.
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku said the donation would reduce neonatal deaths.
The equipment includes lifesaving machines which help premature babies to breathe.
At Oshakati where the event was hosted, 208 premature babies have already died this year.
Haufiku said neonatal issues like in Oshakati are a concern in other hospitals such as Swakopmund and Onandjokwe.
Haufiku said the issues of prematurity and neonatal death need collective efforts from various sectors in order to be addressed, stressing that it cannot be left to the health ministry alone.
Haufiku said the starting point to solving the dilemma that contributes to the vast majority of deaths of children under the age of five should begin with addressing social ills.
“It is a matter of socio-economics, sanitation, poverty, unemployment – therefore for us to provide a permanent solution to this problem we have to have a multi-sectoral approach to maternal infant mortality and nutritional issues,” Haufiku said.
“There is nothing that will solve the problem if we come here with window dressing of the problem or addressing the symptoms of the problem,” Haufiku said further.