Kachikau — Government ministries have been urged to have maintenance budgets in place to prevent the dilapidation of facilities, which come at a lot of costs.
In addition, upon completion, departments should occupy newly built facilities soon before the lapse of the maintenance period.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Mr Vincent Seretse echoed these sentiments during the Kachikau Clinic project handover recently.
He also explained that occupying facilities soon after completion gives ministries the opportunity to detect any maintenance needs and to have them attended to promptly.
Consequently, the minister encouraged contractors and consultants to make it a habit to complete projects on time and within budget.
The clinic project was started in 2015 and was completed on time and within budget at a cost of P3 181 456. When accepting the clinic from the infrastructure ministry, the Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Mr Sethomo Lelatisitswe expressed appreciation, noting that the Chobe area was unique in terms of health challenges facing residents.
He explained that the district was infested with wild animals and the fact that the primary hospital was far away in Kasane proved a challenge in that the two villages are separated by an animal park.
"Whenever there is urgent need for medical attention, especially at night, it used to be difficult for residents to get instant medical attention.
The clinic will go a long way in alleviating this problem as patients can get quality care in Kachikau," he added.
He promised residents that plans were afoot to equip the clinic with X-ray machines, a fully-fledged maternity ward, laboratories, a mortuary and admission wards for patients before being referred to a hospital.
Chobe West, Mr Lelatisitswe noted, had a population of 5 698, hence the clinic would contribute to the provision of equitable healthcare to patients.
He said that it was government's objective to provide uniform healthcare for citizens despite geographic differences.
He highlighted that the construction of the clinic was part of government's commitment to bringing quality healthcare closer to residents.
"The ministry commits to equipping the clinic so that it does not become a white elephant," the assistant minister explained.
Given that the clinic would be operating 24 hours a day, Mr Lelatisitswe asserted that it would require additional staff.
As part of efforts to source accommodation for workers, the clinic is waiting to be allocated three more houses by the Tribal Administration department, which they will maintain.
In addition, he said that the upgrading of the primary hospital in the district was on course.
He also heaped praise on the contractor, Regno Construction for completing the project within budget and on time, noting that such avoided cost overruns.
He also revealed that already the procuring of ambulances was at an advanced stage, promising that one of them would be allocated to Kachikau Clinic.
The assistant minister encouraged residents to fully utilise the clinic, noting that the Chobe District was frequented by tourists who should benefit from quality healthcare as and when they need it.
The Acting Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, who is also Chobe MP, Mr Machana Shamukuni appreciated the delivery of the infrastructure development project to residents.
He noted that residents of Kachikau used to travel long distances in search of healthcare as the village had only one nurse in a small facility. Mr Shamukuni explained that in other countries, the clinic was equivalent to hospitals as the clinic would have X-rays, a mortuary and wards.
The acting minister also applauded the citizen contractor for delivering the project on time, which he said was refreshing, given the reputation of local companies on project performance.
He also implored the health ministry to move with speed to equip the clinic.
Consequently, he thanked the clinic staff for sacrifices they made to deliver quality healthcare in the district despite the challenges.