4 February 2013

Namibia: Bigger, Better Clinic for Desert Folks

Utuseb — The Topnaar community will soon receive a bigger and better health facility after the Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) entered a partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to upgrade the clinic of the community.

Close to 800 Topnaars have been served from a tiny one-room clinic that was built in 2005 at Utuseb. Patients are served by two qualified nurses who operate on a rotational basis.

During a recent visit to Utuseb, the Topnaar community said the clinic can only accommodate a nurse and one patient at a time.

"The clinic also does have a waiting area and sometimes sick patients have to endure the hot and windy conditions of the Namib desert on busy days," one of the nurses told New Era last week.

The nurse further explained that patients do not have privacy at all. A pensioner told this newspaper that they are forced to travel to Walvis Bay to see a doctor since no there is no doctor at Utuseb.

"We sometimes have to pay N$100 just to travel to Walvis Bay to see a doctor," she said, adding that sometimes patients have to wait for days on end before they can get a lift to Walvis Bay.

"If a disaster strikes here one can only imagine what will happen while we are waiting for an ambulance to arrive from Walvis Bay," said the pensioner.

When approached for reaction, the traditional leader of the Topnaar, Chief Kooitjie, told New Era that they are aware of the issues raised by the residents of Utuseb and that they are in the process of addressing them.

"The traditional authority has already availed land to the Ministry of Health and Social Services for the extension of the clinic, which will definitely iron out all issues once completed," chief Kooitjie said.

Kooitjie could however not say how much the construction would cost, but said locals will be employed during the extension of the clinic.

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