By Frederick Philander STAMPRIET “Go forth and multiply, but responsibly,” was the specific message from the Minister of Health and Social Services to the Stampriet community and the nation at large last Thursday. Dr Richard Kamwi was officially opening a new village health care centre, erected at a cost of N$1,198 million by the government. Hundreds of villagers attended the festive opening of the clinic that will serve the health care needs of the more than 3 500 inhabitants. “Due to the small size of the country’s population, I don’t see any good reason why we should not multiply in a responsible manner – stick to one partner and get tested before conceiving children,” Kamwi told the appreciative audience that was entertained by groups of local traditional dancers. In an on-the-spot New Era interview after the official inauguration function, Dr Kamwi elaborated more on his encouragement for the nation to multiply. “The fear of HIV/AIDS has brought about a rather negative change in the sexual habits and birth rates among the Namibian people. It has led to a lot of mistrust among sexual partners. We have been encouraging people to abstain from sex before marriage, to use condoms and take birth control measures that have had a profound effect and influence on our people’s sexual behaviour,” Kamwi said. The minister explained that he encouraged people to multiply within a biblical context. “As a traditionalist with a modern outlook on life, I steadfastly believe we should conceive more children, otherwise the nation faces extinction, something no right-minded person would want to see happen. There is already a decline in AIDS among the ages between 19 and 25, an indication that measures introduced in the fight against AIDS are paying off. These healthy young people will bring forth healthy children,” Kamwi contended. “The inauguration of this clinic marks an important milestone in bringing health care to all corners of the country. It is a fully-fledged health center with a modern emergency room, consulting and counseling rooms and a medicine room, done in fulfillment with the government’s policy of providing and delivering affordable and high quality health care services to the Namibian nation,” Kamwi earlier told the villagers. In the past the inhabitants had to travel over 50 km to Mariental for health care. “Previously our elderly people from this village living with disabilities and those with chronic diseases had to travel to Mariental for medication. With the new clinic, such medical treatment is now right here on their doorstep, something the community needs to appreciate,” said Hansen at the same event where Kamwi also unveiled a plaque and took part in a tree-planting ceremony.
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