By Hileni Nembwaya
THE Ministry of Health and Social Services intends to construct a state-of-the-art referral hospital at Ongwediva, instead of Ondangwa, which was previously identified as an ideal location for the project.
The hospital will have a 1 000-bed capacity.
Ondangwa had been one of the towns earmarked for a State hospital, due to its high demand for healthcare, and in order to ease the pressure on the Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital. However, the ministry decided to shelve the Ondangwa project, in order to pave the way for a referral hospital at Ongwediva.
According to sources within the ministry, who preferred to remain anonymous, the Ongwediva Town Council is ready to avail land to the ministry to construct a hospital.
“Even the meeting that was held last Thursday was only for the Ongwediva Town Council and the ministry, and Ondangwa Town Council officials were not supposed to attend or hear anything about the meeting.
“Luckily, some people in the Oshana Regional Council intervened in the matter and resolved that Ondangwa Town Council officials should also attend the meeting,” a source said.
“There are people within the ministry and Ongwediva Town Council fighting for the hospital to be constructed at Ongwediva.”
During the consultative meeting, Health and Social Services Minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku, said that the envisaged referral hospital will cater for the northern regions.
“The ministry does not have enough funds to build more than one hospital in one region, and thus we are opting for only one big referral hospital that will cater for the entire region’s high demand for medical services.
“The Ondangwa State Hospital has to be shelved, due to an economic crisis facing the ministry,” he said.
Ongwediva Mayor Angelina Angula said that the council is ready to avail land to the ministry for the construction of the hospital.“This is a good gesture. We have enough space here, and we are ready to avail land to the ministry,” she said.
Ondangwa Town Council Chief Executive Officer, Ismael Namgongo, could not say why the construction of the hospital in the town was shelved, and said the ministry has now opted for Ongwediva, without communicating anything to the council.
“Nothing was communicated to us, until the plans surfaced during the consultative meeting. We do not know why they are halting the project, and for that matter, this project has been planned a long time ago, and the ministry was pushing for construction of this project.
“We have availed the ministry three possible pieces of land for the construction, and money was spent for the feasibility study. Ondangwa is one of the densely populated towns in the North, but we do not have a hospital here, and in fact Ondangwa is strategically located to cater for the high demands of a referral hospital,” Namgongo said.
“This is a duplication of efforts and our residents will think that there is no fairness in the allocation of State projects. We are not happy with this; it is really frustrating the local authority and it is also frustrating the residents.”
Namgongo therefore called on the regional council to convene an urgent meeting with the two local authorities.
The consultative meeting last week resolved that the two local authorities should avail at least two pieces of vacant land within their boundaries, to the ministry before the end of June.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015