The First Lady joined the Ongwediva Medipark for the second consecutive year for the annual #SafeMotherhood Initiative to promote antenatal information and treatment to expectant women and their partners.
The approximately 400 expectant mothers. attended the educational session and listened attentively to each session. Findings from the 2016 "Safe Motherhood Initiative" enriched this year's program with Dr Tshali Iithete, Managing Director of Ongwediva Medipark, indicating that 60% of the women screened last year were found to have anemia and this informed the content of the presentation on nutrition. Various health professionals gave informative presentations on contraceptives, danger signs during pregnancy and nutrition, with a focus on the nutritional value of traditional foods.
She commended Ongwediva Medipark for their commitment to providing expectant mothers with information that enables them to protect and care for themselves as well as make informed choices about bearing children. She also used the opportunity to address issues around the involvement of men in family planning, the importance of choosing a spouse who understands the responsibilities of fatherhood, teenage pregnancy and the resurgence of HIV in adolescent girls and young women due to transactional sex.
She concluded by encouraging women to make conscious decisions about when to become mothers and indicated that, "family planning is the most powerful poverty eradication tool." She contextualized this point by explaining that poverty is calculated by dividing household income with household members and the more household members a household has, the poorer it will be.
Dr. Tshali Iithete made it clear that the Safe Motherhood Initiative is about bringing services to the people, a gesture greatly appreciated by Hon. Erginus Endjala, Governor of the Omusati Region who thanked the Ongwediva Medipark for the screening services and the provision of supplements for free.
The presence of Hon. Erginus Endjala, Governor of the Omusati Region, Tatekulu Oswin Mukulu, "Elenga Enene" of the Ombalantu Traditional Authority, Deacon Ambrosius Shalumbu, a spiritual leader and several regional and local authority councilors served as a reminder that Safe Motherhood is a collective responsibility.
The Office of the First Lady would like to commend Ongwediva Medipark for refurbishing the High Care Unit at the Paediatric Ward in the Outapi State Hospital. Dr Tshali Iithete, the Managing Director, today committed to extending the refurbishment to the Paediatric Ward. Ongwediva Medipark under the leadership of Dr Iithete is a trailblazer in upgrading the healthcare experience in northern Namibia. Their most special attributes are the way that Dr Iithete has his finger on the pulse of the healthcare needs of the community as well as the willingness of him and his entire team to dedicate time and resources to raise awareness and make services accessible, for free, to the rural poor. Dr Iithete is a star in our eyes and we are proud to be associated with the Safe Motherhood Initiative.
FLON's full keynote address is available here.