Residents of Omungunda village in the Kunene Region are concerned about the lack of medicine at Otjiu clinic over the past three weeks.
Speaking to journalists during a Namiba Red Cross Society media tour on Tuesday, villagers said the clinic goes two to three weeks without medicine.
The headman of the village, Josef Mbanguha, said some of his people went to the clinic on Monday and were told there is no medication and that they should come back the following week.
He said oftentimes when people go to the clinic for treatment there is no nurse or health practitioner to attend to them: “This issue is not new in this area. People used to go there, only to be told there is no medicine. We do not know what is happening.”
He further praised the government for providing health extension workers in the area, although they only assist with first aid.
The headman said if someone gets sick, he asks people in the village to contribute money for fuel to take the sick to hospital.
“If there is not enough money for fuel, people have to walk to the clinic, which is about 20 kilometres from our village,” he said. It apparently takes villagers a week to walk to the nearest hospital, a real trial of strength for someone who is ill.
Approached for comment the health director in Kunene Region, Thomas Shapumba, strongly denied reports that Otjiu clinic has run out medicine. He said it is possible the clinic does not dispense medicines in certain higher categories, therefore they refer patients to other health centres.
“In Namibia there is no health facility that possesses all medication categories, thus we do referrals to other hospitals,” he said.
Shapumba further said it is not possible for a qualified clinic to operate without medicine. “That is their political issue. All clinics in the entire Kunene Region are qualified to have certain medicines and they all have medicine,” he concluded.