Outapi-Communities in the far-off areas of the Omusati region still have little access to health, communication, education and other services due to lack of infrastructure though much has been done since independence, says chairperson of the regional council, Modestus Amutse.
He says since independence, the region has been focussing on roads infrastructural development where, among others, a bitumen road was constructed connecting Oshakati and Okahao, Outapi/Tsandi, Omakange/Iitananga, Oshikuku/Okalongo, Outapi/Omafo, Wakashamane, Oshikuku/Onamutuku and Ruacana/Kamanjab.
“Apart from bitumen standard roads, there were also other roads constructed such as Okahao/Amwaanda, Omutamboomawe/Amwaanda, Oshikuku/Ekangolinene, Shoni/Onaanda, Elim/Onkani, Onkani/Otamanzi and Ogongo just to mention some,” adds Amutse.
Road networks have made communication in the region much easier although access roads are still crucial to avert the closure of many schools during the rainy seasons because of lack of access roads. Amutse adds that the government improved, among others, health infrastructure at Oshikuku St Martin Hospital, Okahao, Tsandi and Outapi, while new clinics and health centres were constructed at Omagalanga in Oshikuku Constituency, Othika and Onaanda in the Elim constituency, Onkani, Otamanzi and in Otamanzi constituency, Indira Gandhi in Okahao constituency, Omakange, Etunda and Oshifo in Ruacana constituency.
The government robustly supports education, with close to 100 new schools having been built after independence. There are currently 280 registered schools in the Omusati region, including private schools. A number of schools were upgraded from primary to combined schools and there has been a notable increase in the construction of teachers’ accommodation. Most of these schools are electrified and have access to communication network. Apart from schools, most growth points are also electrified. Omusati had only one settlement before independence, but to date there are four towns namely, Outapi, the regional capital; Ruacana, Okahao and Oshikuku. Tsandi was also upgraded to a village council in 2015, while Ogongo, Okalongo and Onesi were uplifted to settlements.
Amutse says more than half of the population of the region has access to clean water. Although these developments have brought relief to many rural communities, employment opportunities offered in the process were temporary. “It should, however, be appreciated that employment opportunities were created at schools for teachers and support staff members, nurses at clinics and health centres and through generals services that were attracted to the region by the establishment of towns and other developmental infrastructure,” he adds.
These developments, though, have not successfully addressed unemployment among people living in rural areas. Over 50 percent of the youth remain unemployed and this has increased migration into urban areas.
However the governor of the Omusati region, Erginus Endjala, says rural communities have benefited immensely from rural water supply through tap water from traditional wells. “The government has brought the provision of rural electrification to many areas. Connecting communities through construction of roads infrastructure, communication network and many others,” says Endjala.
The governor adds that indicators of development are accessibility to essential services such as medical care, schools and many services due to accessible road and communication networks.
“Unlike before independence, [more] rural areas have acquired growth point status from settlements to subsequently village councils then towns,” he says.