Sesfontien Constituency Councillor Julius Kaujova says the settlement is in need of a temporary mortuary, as the residents are transporting the remains of their loved ones to Opuwo, which is situated more than 150 km away.
A new mortuary is currently under construction, but Kaujova says one of the rooms at the clinic can be modified to become a health centre and can be utilised as a temporary mortuary, as many people do not always have the means to travel to the morgue in Opuwo.
He says the elderly in particular bear a heavy burden in this respect, as they have to fork out money from the N$1100 pension grant they receive from the government in order to transport the bodies of their deceased.
“I dream of the completion of the health centre, but I’m trying to propose an alternative to have a temporary mortuary by converting one of the rooms, or to transport the corpses to Opuwo,” Kaujova said.
Previous contractors failed twice since 2009 to complete the project and the third contractor is now converting the clinic to a health centre, but this time Kaujova insists control mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the job is completed. He says 50 percent of the work is already completed and he will personally see to it that it is completed successfully.
Kaujova believes companies that fail to deliver must be blacklisted.
The speedy completion of the health centre will also be a relief to many people, as residents currently travel to Opuwo to see a doctor and access services not offered at the Sesfontien clinic. Some travel to Omakange and Tsandi in neighbouring regions after days of waiting for a doctor at Opuwo State Hospital, according to Kaujova, who also serves as chairperson of Kunene Regional Council.
“Opuwo State Hospital does not even have enough medical doctors and it’s a heavy burden for it as it’s the only hospital in Kunene North,” Kaujova said.
He called on government to convert clinics at Okanguati and Obombo in the Kunene North to health centres to reduce the pressure on Opuwo State Hospital, the only hospital in four constituencies in the northern part of Kunene. Kaujova also wants a clinic to be built in Opuwo.
He is further concerned about the lack of nurses at the clinic, as they are overworked. He said with the completion of the health centre more nurses and doctors can be sent to Sesfontien.
“The nurses are worn out and might be negligent at times,” Kaujova admitted. Earlier this year a man died after there was no nurse to assist him at the clinic, as they were attending training sessions. Kaujova stressed that training and workshops are important for capacity building, but a relief nurse must be deployed to alleviate the situation.
He further said government can devise attractive packages and accommodation to incentivise nurses to move to the rural areas. Residents in Kunene Region can be sent to study on condition they return to work in rural areas.
Kaujova believes that the minister of health and social services and his high-ranking officials should visit health facilities in Kunene Region and they see for themselves what is happening on the ground.