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NZ$267 million injection for Kunene health

Of the $10.9 billion Ministry of Health budget, a total of $267.5 million has been allocated to the Kunene region.

This, said Health Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula, is part of strengthening primary health care delivery in the region and other parts of the country.

He said this during an event supporting outreach to increase access to quality healthcare for vulnerable populations through improved health services.

“In Namibia, we are making steady progress in expanding healthcare services to all Namibians, especially those living in rural areas. We are aware that in many rural communities, health centers are often located far from their homes, making it difficult for people to access timely medical care when they need it,” Shangula said.

The government aims to address the causes of poor health and promote well-being among citizens.

Shangula added that the government and stakeholders such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Japanese government will work tirelessly to address endemic diseases.

When a patient has health problems that cannot be treated at the point of care, they are referred to clinics, health centers and hospitals. This is part of the public health sector referral pathway. Extension points are established in locations that were chosen through consultation and guidance from community members themselves. Orotjitombo village is among the locations designated for the establishment of an extension point.

Shangula said: “The ministry is building new health facilities and renovating existing health infrastructure. The construction of the Epupa clinic, for example, is an example of this. Construction of the Epupa clinic began on March 25, 2014, with a completion date of March 25, 2015, for N$11.4 million. Unfortunately, the contract had to be terminated in March 2016 due to non-compliance by the contractor.”

He indicated that the new contract began in June 2022. The contract amount is N$9.7 million. Shangula added that they have completed the Oroutumba health post with a total cost of
N$628,813. The built elements are the shade structure, fence, septic tank and solar electricity installation. Additionally, a new backup power generator was installed at Opuwo Hospital at a total cost of N$1.8 million and commissioned.

“The ministry has commenced upgrading the medical oxygen network infrastructure at Outjo, Khorixas and Opuwo hospitals at a total cost of N$2.5 million. Construction of a new clinic in Serringkop will begin this financial year,” he added.

WHO Officer-in-Charge Mary Brantuo was delighted to note the progress made to ensure that women and children in these areas receive comprehensive health care, including vital nutritional interventions.

He highlighted that universal health coverage (UHC) is at the core of WHO’s mission, which aims to ensure that all individuals and communities, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have access to essential health services without facing financial hardship.

“Through a project titled ‘Increasing access to quality healthcare for vulnerable populations through improved outreach health services to reduce avoidable deaths and inequalities’ in the Kunene and Omaheke regions, the project, valued at 300,000 US dollars, was carried out from January to December 2023. The activities implemented included strengthening access to health services for vulnerable women and children through outreach services,” Brantuo said. [email protected]