22 August 2017

Namibia: WHO Funds Opuwo Maternity Waiting Room

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) is funding the construction of a maternity waiting home at Opuwo which should be completed by the end of the year.

WHO signed the agreement for the project last year with the ministry of health.

Both parties could not say how much WHO was putting into the project.

WHO country representative to Namibia, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, urged the Opuwo regional health directorate to ensure that the project is completed by the end of the year.

"The most significant activity this year is to see the maternity waiting home completed. I need you to assure me it will be finalised this year," he urged.

The facility "should have been there a long time ago; not today or tomorrow, it should have been there yesterday", Sagoe-Moses said when he toured Opuwo and Outapi last week.

He nonetheless thanked the health ministry and everyone involved for their efforts and for being part of the changes in tackling maternal mortality.

"We give you the firm assurance that we will support you. After all, mothers should be safe when coming to give birth," he added.

Kunene regional health director Thomas Shapumba agreed with Sagoe-Moses that the waiting home was long overdue.

He then promised that they will finish the home by December.

"I am hopeful we will be done by the said time, as most of the stumbling blocks we were facing are something of the past now, and we are good to go. Through the continued support of the WHO and the EU, the health of mother and child is secured," Shapumba noted.

Sagoe-Moses also visited the office of Opuwo governor Angelika Muharukua, giving the firm assurance that WHO will support the region.

Muharukua also felt that this project is for the betterment of the people of the region, and that she would make sure she stands behind this project 100%.

"At this point, we can't fight each other. We need to work together from now on; we must now fight for this project to be finished.

"I also hope this project will involve our people so that they also benefit. This Harambee house is a big house, and all of us must benefit," Muharukua said.

After the meetings, Sagoe-Moses toured the maternity wards at the Opuwo District Hospital.

One of the women present was Vehezako Muharukua (21), a mother of four, who said she had many challenges because of the distance between her home and the hospital.

"I always estimated my months. I am not always sure when I am due. I gave birth to my second child at home because I did not know. The hospital was far," she narrated.

WHO child and adolescent medical officer in Namibia, Mary Brantuo, accompanied Sagoe-Moses. She said the dignity of women is fundamental, and when pregnant, they need to have privacy.

Opuwo mayor Albert Tjiuma said that they made land available for the project.

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