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The Only NkurenkuruMaternity Ward On Verge of Closure


Community members and youth in Kavango West are blaming leaders in the region for what they term the deplorable state of the Nkurenkuru Intermediate Hospital.

This emanates from concerns raised with the National Council Standing Committee on Health, Social Welfare and Labour Affairs, which recently visited region.

Matron of the hospital, Adeline Kudumo says the only maternity ward in Nkurenkuru, which is a six bed mud facility belonging to the Lutheran Church, is on the verge of being closed down by the Town Council if problems identified are not solved.

This would impact expecting mothers, forcing them to travel over 100 kilometers to Rundu to receive healthcare services.

Kudumo also told the National Council Standing Committee on Health, Social Welfare and Labour Affairs, the facility which was constructed in the 1800’s finds itself between a rock and a hard place as it only survives on subsidies.

According to Kudumo, the facility was supposed to be transferred to the Ministry of Health and Social Services but this has not happened.

She also told the Standing Committee, the Lutheran Church has reduced its funding towards the facility, arguing that it gets enough funds from the Ministry, while the Ministry does not want to increase its subsidy claiming the health centre is privately owned.

Meanwhile, a youth activist in Nkurenkuru, Modestus Kasoma says leaders in the region have failed their people.

“During the groundbreaking of Nkurenkuru Intermediate Hospital in 2014, we were promised by the Ministry of Health and Social Services that this will be a proper facility for Nkurenkuru but to date, there’s just a fence around that area and no structure. Why are the leaders not doing any follow up on this?” he questioned.

Kasoma claimed the Director of Health FranciskaHamutenya, and the Regional Governor SirkkaAusiku, do not show any interest in what their people need, especially with regard to health matters.

“We want to take action about the issue of the hospital. It’s really dilapidated and our mothers and sisters are suffering when it comes to the maternity wards. There are only a few beds for patients”, Kasoma lamented.

Kasoma further claimed that some women are discharged the same day they give birth, and if it is a serious matter, they then have to travel 140 km to Rundu just for delivery.

It’s even worse for those in the villages, as they are asked to pay a N$200 to get the ambulance to pick them up and bring them to the hospital.

SimukuKalembera, well-known as KafuKaNamibia, who is a resident of Nkurenkuru, told The Villager that leaders in Kavango West have not only failed with the Nkurenkuru health facility, but also with the small clinics surrounding the area, such as Mbambi and Tuguva.

“Our leaders don’t care about the well-being of the people within the Kavango West region. Imagine travelling from those small remote areas and you have to carry your own blankets to the hospital just because the hospital doesn’t have enough facilities for the patients.
“The rooms don’t even accommodate a lot of people. That’s why if you’re not seriously sick you will be discharged the same day you’re admitted, if someone who’s seriously sick comes to the hospital,” Kalembera said.

He said it is disheartening to see many people being sent back home without medicine, or being told to buy medicine at the private pharmacy.

Approached for comment, Health Director Hamutenya told The Villager that, “We can only comment further once the Minister has issued his statement. Furthermore, the Directorate has been in existence for just two years and cannot be blamed for this dilapidated structure and the buildings are for the church and not the government.”
The Villager also reached out to the Nkurenkuru Town Council CEO, Petrus Sindimba who said he was unaware of the matter and could only confirm today, whether the Nkurenkuru maternity ward is at the verge of being closed down by the Town Council as he has been out of his office for a week.

In response, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, at Sunday’s press conference said Nkurenkuru Lutheran Medical Centre caters to a population of 6,534 persons.

According to Nangombe, the government provides subsidies of more than N$24 million per annum to cover for the salaries and operational matters of the health centre.

“During the past financial years, some renovations were carried out at the TB wards to the value of N$700 000. For the kitchen and the Matron’s office there was an additional cost of approximately N$400 000. No large-scale renovation is possible at this time or any other time as a pre-fabricated facility was already set up”, Nangombe explained.

According to the ED, the facility has 60 beds and it’s only suitable for those who are admitted and some admissions are transferred to the Nankundu State Hospital.

Nangombe also pointed out the centre doesn’t have positions for doctors, thus only 19 deliveries take place on busy days and 12 home deliveries are done when it’s very busy.

“Plans are underway to relocate the maternity patients from Nkurenkuru Health Centre to the Covid facility primary health centre. This facility is new and well catered for. The aim is to ensure that services are normally rendered by the health centre,” said Nangombe.

Annakleta Haikera

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