Expectant mothers at Engela need gov’t care

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WINDHOEK, 05 April 2016 - DTA of Namibia President McHenry Venaani asks questions to President Hage Geingob shortly after he delivered his second State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly Chambers. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

Esme Konstantinus

Windhoek-President of the DTA, McHenry Venaani has called on government to care for expectant mothers at Engela and Outapi who currently live under unhygienic conditions.
They are exposed to swarms of mosquitoes that make them vulnerable to malaria, and have to squat in tents while waiting to give birth.

Venaani made the call in the National Assembly on Tuesday, and emphasised that the poor living conditions of the women created a wrong perception of the country.
He further wanted to know from Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernhard Haufiku whether the situation was a sign of collapse of the country’s health system.

In response, Haufiku explained that there were maternity shelters in those places, but patients were not willing to pay the N$10 charged for the use of those facilities.
“The maternity shelters were built years ago. There is running water and electricity, but patients are not willing to pay the N$10 and they go back to their tents,” he charged, and that furthermore no one took care of the shelters.

The minister lashed out at the media for only showing the pregnant women squatting in tents, and not reporting about the maternity shelters they had constructed.

Venaani, who was not satisfied with the response by Haufiku, said the reason expectant mothers camp outside the hospital in makeshift shelters is that the maternity shelters are full.

New Era reported last week Wednesday that expectant mothers refused to stay at Tuyakula shelter in Engela, which the regional authorities built a few years ago, saying it was 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 falling apart because of lack of proper care.

The women in Engela now camp just below the road constructed on high ground adjacent to the hospital, and as a result, water flows through their tents into the sewerage water nearby when it rains.

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