Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku says joint efforts are needed to imrpove the living conditions of residents at Aussenkehr.
Visiting the settlement for the first time on Tuesday, he noted that the living conditions are harsh at Aussenkehr and said all relevant ministries need to come together to map out a strategy to better the people’s living conditions.
During his visit to the Aussenkehr clinic, he said residents do not only need services from his ministry, but also require basic services from other ministries and, therefore, it is important that all stakeholders come together to address the situation.
He pointed to issues of housing, water and sanitation as some of the pertinent issues that need urgent attention from different ministries in order to uplift the living standards of the people at Aussenkehr, the majority of whom are farmworkers.
“You can’t achieve good health for people in such conditions,” he noted, referring to the reed houses, the lack of potable water and the lack of proper ablution facilities, which can contribute to disease proliferation.
Envisioning his long-term plan for the settlement, he revealed that the ministry would strive to build a health centre, which is suitable for the size of the population, as the population is growing year by year.
He further said the ministry aims to get a bus that can transport patients from Aussenkehr to Noordower health centre, where a permanent doctor will be stationed to assist people in those areas.
Councillor for Karasburg West and East Constituency Paulus Efraim informed the health minister that the farm was recently declared a settlement and said it is now time for the different line ministries to come on board and bring development to the area.
He said 7 000 erven have been demarcated and are ready for use – pending the installation of water supply – and that some companies are ready to start building houses for their workers on the piece of donated land.
“We must build permanent structures. The time for temporary structures is not here anymore,” he said on the housing issue. Efraim also emphasised the need to plan properly, saying in the next five to ten years the number of people at the settlement would reach about 50 000. Thus, whatever plans are put in place should be suitable for many years to come.
“We have a very big problem, so whatever we plan, we can’t plan for two or three days only,” he noted on the need for a well thought-out plan for Aussenkehr.
The two officials then visited the demarcated housing site. They also met with managers of various private companies operating in the area and formed a committee to help advance the development agenda.