Villagers Traverse 40 Km to Nearest Clinic

A health centre aimed at providing services to residents of Ombombo village in the Kunene Region is yet to open its doors, which forces over 1 000 villagers to traverse about 40km to the nearest clinic.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services blames the delay in the opening of the clinic on the contractor whose work is apparently sub-standard, which resulted in new contractors being enlisted early this month to complete the job.

Construction of the Ombombo Primary Health Care Clinic commenced in 2010, but four years later the targeted community is yet to benefit.

Ombombo is situated 80 kilometers south of Opuwo and has a community of about 1 000 people.

Contacted for comment, the Ministry of Health and Social Services spokesperson Ester Paulus said the clinic is incomplete because the contractor did not construct it according to specifications – which forced the ministry to rope in new contractors.

“The work was not up to standard. Our permanent secretary approached the Tender Board and informed them about the shoddy workmanship. The Tender Board gave the ministry the authority to look for minor contractors to complete the construction. Earlier this month, minor contractors were contracted to finish the job. Right now they are busy sourcing the material to complete the job,” Paulus explained.

According to Paulus, although the clinic looks complete from the outside, work still needs to be done on the inside.

Opuwo Constituency Councillor Kazeongere Tjeundo told New Era that the health facility nearest to Ombombo is situated about 40 kilometres away at Oruvandjayi village.

The principal of the Ombombo Combined School personally transports learners who fall sick to the clinic.

“There are over 1 000 people in Ombombo and they are finding it very difficult to access health services. I already informed the regional health director that the community of Ombombo is unhappy and this situation will soon get further out of hand,” said Tjeundo.

Tjeundo said the community, which comprises of about 400 learners and 600 adults, is demanding that the clinic be completed.

“Right now the principal is forced to turn his car into an ambulance to transport sick learners to hospital,” he said.

Tjeundo, who serves as the DTA of Namibia’s vice-president, told New Era the Otwani Primary Health Centre, situated 30 kilometres from Ombombo, faces a similar predicament.

“The clinic being constructed at Otwani is in the same state as the one in Ombombo – both were both constructed by the same contractor. But at least the people at Otwani have a mobile health centre unlike in Ombombo where there is nothing,” he said.

Health services in the region are provided through hospitals, health centres, clinics and outreach services.

In 2010 Kunene had three district hospitals, three health centres and 1 512 outreach points.

These figures have since increased.

According to the 2011 provisional census results, Opuwo Constituency is home to 27 500 people.

The census results indicated that the total enumerated population in the constituency at the time was 88 300.

Source : New Era