By: Ludorf Iyambo, Eba Kandovazu
The emergency clinic at parliament, which officially opened its doors in April this year, will also cater to ordinary public members, parliament spokesperson Raphael Hangula revealed.
According to him, the clinic will deal with any health emergency in the precincts of parliament. He says parliament went into a wide range of consultations with various stakeholders, such as the health ministry, to set up the clinic, which he says will serve as an emergency care unit.
“The clinic is situated in the National Assembly building, ground floor, northern wing, opposite the Chamber. It operates from Mondays to Fridays during normal working hours. The Emergency Care Unit is manned by two emergency nurses, who have been seconded from the health ministry,” Hangula stressed.
He also added that apart from assisting MPs, staff members from both houses of parliament and institutions close to the parliament precinct, such as the office of the Prime Minister, the international relations ministry and the information and communication ministry, will also be catered for.
In 2019, parliamentarian Lotto Kuushomwa a former MP in the National Council, collapsed and passed away at the premises. Last year, late APP leader Ignatius Shixwameni also collapsed and passed away in parliament while he was attending a parliamentary standing committee meeting.
His nephew, Agapitus Hausiku, said at the time that Shixwameni suffered a cardiac arrest. Paramedics are said to have arrived 40 minutes after the MP collapsed and declared him dead at the scene.
His wife Louise was in Cape Town on official duty when news of Shixwameni’s death broke.
APP Vice President Erastus Shuumbwa said that the death of Shixwameni is not only a loss to the party but to Namibia as a whole.
“He was a freedom fighter, a comrade who fought for education. His contribution to Namibia speaks for itself. We lost an honest and dedicated leader. It is indeed a painful loss,” Shuumbwa said.
Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe said no special budget was made for the clinic, as they would be using services of already existing nurses within the Ministry and an already existing room which will be turned into a suitable medic room.
“There’s already a room at the National Assembly building. We will just put a bed and machines in case an emergency happens at parliament or if someone is sick they can be assisted as a matter of urgency while they wait for an ambulance,” Nangombe said.
Meanwhile, Loise Shixuameni, the late Shixuameni’s wife, said that it is worrisome and a tragedy that 32 years after independence, the parliament did not train any MP or the staff members on how to deal with emergencies.
“Members of parliament, most of them are ageing, and I think it is shocking that they didn’t have a service like a clinic. When my husband died, I was in South Africa, and I had to call the ambulance myself, and no one knew what to do. I’m not blaming the parliament, but I think it is something that they were supposed to do a long time ago,” Loise told The Villager.
She added that after being long overdue, parliament has taken a good initiative to have an emergency clinic in a precinct of the parliament.
“I engage with the parliament management to say I hope Shixuameni is the last person to die there due to the fact that there’s no emergency,” she added.
She further said most of Namibia’s institutions, such as ministries and institutions of high education, have no instruments or trained people in first aid.
She said that her husband’s death was a wake-up call for all the Namibias. “Since my husband died, there are many people who have died of heart attack and many times, and people don’t know what to do. For me, my husband’s death is a wake-up call to all Namibias to value life and make sure that each institution must have well-planned wellness centres where issues of training people in first aid can be started.
The widow said she and her kids are starting up a Shixuameni foundation to honour her late husband’s legacy. She stated that the foundation is training Namibians to save more lives.
“I have already started with the formal establishment of this foundation. When the appropriate time comes, I and my children and other trustees will announce it. We have come up with the objectives of this foundation which is the Ignatius Saving Life Foundation.
She said the foundation has three purposes: to educate the Namibians about first aid situations, train Namibians in all suspects of life on what to do when a person collapses in front of them, and finally ensure that people have a general understanding of when such incidents happened.
Simon Andreas, a government official who spoke in his personal capacity, however, said it is not a solution to set up an entire facility at the parliament because there are already other facilities around the area of the parliament.
“Robert Mugabe clinic is not far from the parliament, same as Roman Catholic hospital. The issue here was the ambulance which took too long.
He says the issue is to have an ambulance on site. He added that setting up the entire facility is a waste of money. He further said that other facilities would make use of this money.
“When you have your community suffering from no types of services and medical services, and they have been waiting for the longest time, how are they going to think? Some communities have been waiting for a clinic or a school to be built in their areas, but it was not done. To them, it is unacceptable that they are not being looked at,” he said.