Omuthiya — The construction of the 100-bed maternity ward at Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital is well on track for completion in August this year, following some financial hiccups experienced in 2016.
"I can confirm that there is positive progress towards the project," said the health regional director for Oshikoto Peter Angala.
Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital, which until 2016 was called Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital as it was owned by the Luthern Church, is the oldest hospital in the northern part of Namibia.
The transfer of the hospital to government allowed for the government to pump in N$59 million into the maternity ward, paediatric section and renovate the accommodation facilities for student nurses.
A company called Amupolo Construction Company is responsible for the construction of the ward, and according to Angala has requested an increase in the budgeted amount saying it had under quoted government. Angala says government has rejected the request.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernhard Haufiku, instituted Onandjokwe's facelift and expansion in 2016, during his familiarisation tour to Oshikoto, where he found out the hospital was in a deplorable state.
In terms of access to health care facilities, Angala said most of the region is covered through the outreach programme and primary health care service that was rolled out in rural areas. "Structure wise we have done a lot in the region, we are taking services to the people. The only challenge we are facing is the geographical location of some villages which sometimes make it impossible to access," noted Angula, saying some areas are only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles.
In addition, he said the service interval of vehicles, which are set a 5000 km for booking, is limiting their operation, as vehicles will only be used for a short period and have to go in for maintenance. Angala also noted the issue of lack of staff as another challenge.
Two more health facilities, which were lined up, have been halted, while Ndamono Clinic at Onankali is nearing completion and set for official handover in August.
"Onyaanya and Omboto cleaning have been put on hold pending the screening of the area for possible ordinances, especially the one for Onyaanya because there was an army base. So due to lack of funds, the miners could not continue to screen the areas," said Angala, while indicating that the Subsistence and Travel Allowance for the official assessing the areas was too high per day.