By Anna Ingwafa
The Omusati region on Friday launched its regional poverty profile based on village level participatory poverty assessment.
The regional poverty profile aims at enga-ging those who live in poverty, affording them an opportunity to describe their situation and seeking their views on how their lives could be improved.
The Omusati participatory poverty assessment was undertaken from December 2005 to February 2006 following the completion of a two-week fieldwork exercise in six villages drawn from six constituencies.
The villages are, Etunda in Onesi Constituency, Okakoto in Okahao Constituency, Amarika in Ontamanzi Constituency, Otjimanangombe in Ruacana Constituency, Oshitundu in Oshikuku Constituency and Onhimbu in Outapi Constituency.
Access to safe drinking water, mostly in Etunda Constituency, was one of the major problems drawn from the research.
HIV/Aids infection and related deaths have also caused havoc in the region according to the findings.
“According to the 2004 National HIV sentinel survey, the infection rate at the Oshikuku Hospital was 26.7 percentage and 16.7 percent at Outapi Hospital.
“Infection rates are still increasing and prevention programmes do not have the desired effect.
The result is widespread deaths with the resultant orphan loads, economic costs and devastation of households losing productive members,” stated the report.
The number of orphans in the region is reportedly on the increase, as a direct result of the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Villagers reported that orphans have a serious effect on the households that care for them.
This effect is said to be more severe on households with a lack of or limited productive resources. These households are struggling to take care of the orphans.
Villages indicated that orphans place a lot of stress on households and have a great impact on the well being of host households.
Inadequate access to health services is another challenge to the region.
Villages are unable to receive treatment when the need arises, compromising health and negatively affecting the ability to work.
“In the rural context, where people depend on their own labour, being unhealthy compromises this ability.
Without local clinics or health facilities, villagers delay treatment and have to pay high transport fares to get to the nearest clinic or health facility.
The impact of this on well being is obvious.”
Poor education, poor service from councillors, unemployment, nepotism, poor businesses, poor police services, crime and theft, livestock disease, pests and drought were some of the problems that need urgent attention.
At the launch, Omusati Governor, Sacky Kayone, said the survey looked at understanding the qualitative aspect of poverty from the point of view of the poor, towards a better understanding of how to design programmes to reduce poverty.
Kayone called on public and private institutions and sectors in the Omusati region to join hands and take responsibility by playing a major role in the region’s development. He also called on the Government, stakeholders and donors to fund the proposed programmes in the profile in order to eradicate poverty in the region.
He noted that findings contained in the report do not include the devastating floods that occurred early this year and their aftermath.
“The above mentioned problems are real and are affecting individuals in this region but the poor are more severely affected. The quality of life for our people will not improve if we don’t work towards improving these problems, hence, we will find it hard to achieve Vision 2030.
The poor have very little means but as government, we need to use the available resources to help them out, which is why the Government decides to have the regional councils closer to the people and deliver the necessary services as required,” said Kayone.
Omusati region is located in the north-central part of Namibia and shares a common border with Angola. The region borders Angola to the north, Ohangwena and Oshana regions to the east and Kunene region to the west.
It is divided into 12 constituencies and covers a total area of 26?