Nzinze-Health minister Dr Bernhard Haufiku (above) has urged those seeking medical attention to shun people who claim to possess spiritual healing powers, saying the first port of call should be health facilities in their vicinity.
Haufiku was speaking at Nzinze village in Kavango West last week, where the US Ambassador Thomas Daughton handed over a two-roomed modular house procured through PEPFAR. The facility will be used to accommodate at least two medical staff members, who in the past had no accommodation near a local clinic.
The prefabricated structure house was built at a cost of N$860,000 and solves an accommodation challenge that has persisted since 1991.
“You must not believe in fake healers and people who claim to have the power to heal you, but rather seek medical attention to get healed,” Haufiku said. “I know there are people coming in our communities taking money from you, saying they can wipe away all your problems, or that they can give you medicine that will cure your high blood pressure or HIV.
“Those are lies, they just want your money. So, don’t listen to them. Come to the clinic and get tested and get treatment,” Haufiku, a qualified medical doctor, said.The clinic has a catchment population of 4,747 and has a staff compliment of seven staff, including one registered nurse, one enrolled nurse, one health assistant, two health extension workers, a cleaner and a TB field worker.
The clinic is able to provide rapid HIV testing, provider-initiated testing and counselling, as well as anti-retroviral therapy (ART) related services, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) support.
The clinic has about 230 patients on ART, including about 190 adults and 40 children. There is no data clerk at the site, so a data clerk from the main Nankudu ART clinic comes to the clinic every Thursday for data capturing.
“I want to thank the donors and also the foreign staff who came here to help and to render service to us Namibians,” a delighted Haufiku told his audience.
“I need you to support them. You also need to appreciate the good deed that we are getting from the American people through their embassy. This house here that you can see has got aluminium windows and it’s expensive and a few other items they provided there in your clinic that we could not provide as a ministry, because we have such a huge task.”
Haufiku said the community must cooperate with all the people who are helping to provide health services, including foreign nurses and doctors, noting there were incidents reported of patients being abusive towards medical staff.
“I have heard of such incidents and I don’t want to hear that, so let’s cooperate with them, because they are here to render a service to us. But I always plead that we must also do our best to make sure that we don’t go and look for diseases that we could prevent and then come and overwhelm the health centre.”