17 September 2018

Namibia: Erongo Marine Bankrolls Hospital Food Bank

The recent food crisis experienced by state hospitals in the Erongo region after the contracted company failed to provide food for three days for state patients at the hospital has resulted in the establishment of an emergency foodbank for the region.

Erongo Marine Enterprise, one of the mayor players in the fishing sector through its social responsibility fund, Arechanab Community Trust is spearheading the initiative.

They injected N$300 000 towards it on Saturday while they also spent N$100 000 on repairing the fridges of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay hospitals as well as buying cutlery for all hospitals in the region.

Making the donation on Saturday morning at the Swakopmund State hospital, Managing Director of Erongo Marine Enterprise, Dr Martha Uumati said the food crisis was indeed an eye-opener, especially the generous gesture by hospital staff and the broader community that responded using their personal money to buy food for patients.

"Ironically, I was admitted in a private hospital when I received the news that our regional hospitals have run out of food and that patients are suffering. I could not imagine how the patients are coping without food," she said.

A deeply touched Uumati said while making the donation on behalf of Erongo Marine Enterprise, that it broke her heart and bothered her much that she immediately made contact with the hospital and the governor to see how they could assist.

"That's how the emergency foodbank initiative started. Our people simply cannot go hungry in hospital while they are there to heal," she said.

She explained the food bank will be operating under the auspices of the governor's office and that a committee was established with various stakeholders to ensure that it functions.

The committee is also tasked with ensuring patients received balanced and nutritious meals, to ensure health and safety of the food donated to patients and that food donations are managed in a transparent way and reaches the patients while remaining accountable to donors.

They also see to that local suppliers and Namibian products will be sourced for the food bank.

Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau who received the donation on behalf of the ministry applauded Erongo Marine Enterprise for the generous gesture towards the social upliftment of Namibians.

He also thanked hospital staff as well as the broader community and the Erongo regional leadership for their swift reaction that diverted a crisis so quickly.

He said both ministries are working together on this matter.

"We all know the challenges that government often faces in various sectors in dealing with suppliers for essential commodities, especially when such suppliers do not want to comply with laid-down procurement procedures. I am confident that the matter will speedily be dealt with, hence I urge patience by all stakeholders, as the issue of supplies to our hospitals in Erongo are addressed," he said.

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