The plight of Engela’s expectant mothers

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Nuusita Ashipala

Engela-The plight of expectant mothers camping outside the Engela Intermediate Hospital is far from over.

Their suffering has worsened because they now have to camp along a stream next to untreated sewerage water, making them prone to malaria.

When it rains, these expectant mothers are also compelled to seek shelter at the hospital as their tents become flooded.

The women reside just below the road constructed on high ground adjacent to the hospital, which means water flows through their tents into the sewerage water nearby when it rains.

The greenish sewerage water is a breeding site for swarms of mosquitos and the women have to be in their tents as early as 18h00 to avoid being bitten by malaria-bearing mosquitos.

With the persistent rain, it has also become routine to relocate their tents around the stream as well as dry their belongings on the nearby thorn bushes in their vicinity.

“Once it starts raining, you grab your bag and run to the hospital because the tent gets wet and cold,” related one of the mothers.

Once the rain subsides they return to their tents to remove some of the water that has streamed into the tents.

However, when the rain is heavy, they have no other choice but to sleep on waiting room benches inside the hospital.

Mothers refuse to stay at Tuyakula shelter, which was built a few years ago, saying it is more unhygienic than camping in the open.

The multi-million dollar shelter for expectant mothers sponsored by the Governor of Ohangwena Region Usko Nghaamwa is slowly crumbling because of lack of proper care.
“We need to take ownership of every donation we get. The infrastructure was fully furnished to accommodate 60 mothers and look at what happened to it,” Nghaamwa said.

He appealed to citizens to jealously safeguard donations such as these because they are aimed at benefiting the current and future generation.

Nghaamwa said negotiations are ongoing to allow the Ministry of Health and Social Services to take over ownership of the shelter and run its affairs.

“It is our hope that the building will become operational again,” the Ohangwena regional governor said.

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