Namibian professional boxing has been thrown into turmoil amidst emerging revelations that its regular medical partners are operating illegally and do not subscribe to international requirements.
In a document leaked to New Era Sport, it has emerged that the Cuban medical practitioners used by the Namibian Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NBWCB) during high-profile international fights are not fully equipped to keep an eye over the medical department on such austere gatherings.
The Health Professions Council (HPC) – in respect of medical services rendered during boxing tourneys by any medical practitioner not registered with the Council – has ruled that it is against Council rules to render services in Namibia, if such persons are not registered with the HPC.
This brought to the fore the issue of Cuban doctors attached to the Namibian Boxing and Wrestling Control Board over the last couple of years.
It is clearly stipulated that Cuban doctors are only authorised to work in public hospitals and should not extend their services beyond government medical institutions.
In the meantime, the NBWCB has been humbly requested to cease making further use of Cuban doctors during sanctioned bouts. Failure to adhere to the request could result in an on-the-spot arrest of offenders.
However, the decision has raised eyebrows within the boxing fraternity, raising the question as to why these doctors, who have been practicing unhindered in public hospitals, are not registered with the HPC.
When approached for comment, the secretary general of the Namibian Boxing Federation (NBF), Joe Kaperu, was left floundering: “Over the years, boxing has been making use of Cuban doctors during international events as part of a bilateral agreement, whereupon Cuba has undertaken to assist Namibia in various areas of development, including sport, so I don’t understand where all these issues come from all of a sudden.”
The long serving boxing administrator says the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA)’s rules stipulate that all medical practitioners working for boxing associations and promoters alike must be registered on the AIBA website.
“We have also instructed all doctors attached to boxing to register with the NBWCB, so that they can be co-opted into (AIBA) structures, where they can be exposed to regular checkups, while taken through the ropes in the area of the latest technicalities with regard to fatalities that might occur during bouts”.
Pressed to reveal the identity of doctors operating in Namibia currently registered on the AIBA website, Kaperu was unable to provide any such, apart from Dr Jose Ramires, who has long since returned to his native Cuba.
Attempts to get clarity on the issue from the Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Haufiku, proved futile yesterday, as his mobile went unanswered.