By Mathias Haufiku
WINDHOEK – Government has allocated N$450 million for the establishment of a state-of-the-art military hospital, which will serve members of the army, air force and navy, as well as foreign dignitaries and VIPs.
Minister of Defence Nahas Angula yesterday confirmed the plan, which he says was long overdue but delayed by a lack of funds.
Well-placed sources within the defence ministry said the military hospital will be built in Khomasdal, on the premises where the old TB hospital was situated. Namibian Police members who are residing on the premises were recently ordered to vacate the premises so that construction of the military hospital can begin.
Plans to construct the new hospital were included in estimates of the defence ministry for the 2014 – 2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as part of government’s development programmes.
According to the MTEF document, government spent N$13 million last year on the project. The expenditure will decrease to N$12 million this year, N$3 million next year, before increasing to N$50 million in 2016. The remaining N$372 million will be settled thereafter.
The project description of the hospital indicates that the objective is to build a general referral hospital to serve all three arms of service (army, air force and navy), VIPs and foreign dignitaries.
“The hospital must cater for the latter at an international level. The project must avail better health care to the serving men and women and their families,” reads the document.
“This hospital will also ensure discretion during combat situations,” the document further states.
Approached for comment yesterday, defence minister Angula motivated the need for such a hospital.
“It is not a good thing when our soldiers are admitted to general hospitals which are sometimes overcrowded and where the care is not good,” he said.
“This hospital is long overdue but as you know we have too many things on our hands that we need to take care of,” said Angula.
“One of those things is the accommodation of our soldiers where a lot of money was spent to construct and renovate old barracks. Much of the money was just spent on accommodation,” he said.
“We need this hospital because if you have a foreign visitor, like a head of state, you do not want to take him/her to a commercial hospital but you would want to take care of them in a special facility,” explained Angula.
“As I said, it will take time to complete because of a lack of funds. The funds that we budgeted for this year will be used to service land and fence it off. But in subsequent budgets we will allocate money to it, and perhaps construction will start next year,” he said.
The feasibility study for the multi-million dollar project was completed last year already.
This year the defence ministry will commence with the design and tender documentation in order to start with the provision of services to the site by fencing off the area.
Plans to construct the hospital come at a time when Namibians are calling for a total revamp of state hospitals across the country, some of which they claim are not in a conducive state for patients.
Katutura and Windhoek Central hospitals are some of the hospitals which the public feel should be revamped.