Ongwediva-The Ondangwa and Ongwediva town councils have locked horns on where the envisaged state-of-the-art referral hospital should be constructed after Ondangwa was informed that the planned district hospital at the town has been shelved to pave way for the referral hospital.
The proposed referral hospital will serve all northern regions and is seen to will reduce the number of cases referred to Windhoek, and subsequently save costs and lives, the Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku said.
It will have 900 – 1 200 beds instead of just 300 beds as planned for the Ondangwa district hospital.
Haufiku said while there are plans for the referral hospital, Ondangwa as a locale has been shelved to allow the ministry to cater for other critical needy regions such as Otjozondjupa, where a hospital is planned for Otjiwarongo town.
Haufiku held a consultative meeting with health professionals in the four northern regions as well as the Ondangwa and Ongwediva local authorities on Thursday.
At the meeting the two local authorities were given until the end of June to identify suitably proposed areas for the construction of the hospital.
Giving a synopsis of the meeting the acting deputy permanent secretary in the health ministry, Petronella Masabane, said that by the end of June the ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Works and Transport would have identified consultants to assess the suitability of availed land for construction of the hospital.
But the news was not received well by the Ondangwa leadership, who feel Ondangwa has become prone to their capital projects being diverted to other towns, hence pleaded with the ministry to give the town first preference to have the hospital constructed.
It also came to light that plans to upgrade and renovate the existing Oluno clinic were halted after talks of the district hospital emerged.
Also speaking at the same occasion, the chief executive officer at Ondangwa Town Council pleaded with the ministry to divert the idea of a district hospital at the town into a referral town.
An emotional Ismael Namgongo said the ministry has already been allocated a plot for the construction of a district hospital, which is also suitable to construct a referral hospital.
“Ondangwa has offered enough land, big enough for a referral hospital. Money was already spent on a feasibility study. So why don’t we just go ahead with what is already available?” questioned Namgongo.
Although the Ondangwa district hospital has been documented in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), Haufiku said MTEF is just a projection which can be amended to areas where the need is.
Tribal and political talks also surfaced at the platform, however Haufiku said the fights should not overrule the need to serve the intended population.
“Why do you want to compete for projects of national development? Please don’t compete, complement each other instead,” advised Haufiku.
Ongwediva mayor Angelina Angula said Ongwediva is ready to avail land.
Those New Era spoke to after the meeting said the consultative meeting was just a mere ‘face-front as an area has already been identified in Ongwediva’.
Once constructed, the referral hospital will cut down on the number of patients referred to Windhoek monthly.
The minister said the hospital would be built through a public-private partnership because the ministry does not have the budget needed for such a big project.