24 May 2017 18:00pm
OSHAKATI, 24 MAY (NAMPA) More than 600 Ondangwa residents opposing the establishment of a referral hospital in Ongwediva, on Wednesday staged a peaceful march and handed a petition to the office of the Oshana Regional Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa.
The residents marched with a convoy of cars from Ondangwa and through Ongwediva to Kashuupulwas office at Oshakati, where they handed over a petition addressed to President Hage Geingob.
The Ondangwa residents expect answers to their petition within two weeks.
Kashuupulwas Special Advisor Michael Mwinga, in the presence of Oshana Regional Council (RC) Chairperson Gerson Kapenda, received the petition on behalf of the governor.
Mwinga told the crowd that Kashuupulwa was out of the office due to other official duties.
The demonstration follows a recent media report on a national referral hospital in the Oshana Region that could be built in Ongwediva or Ondangwa, provided that one of the towns provides suitable land.
The needed land should be fit for a health facility that would be involved in the academics and research within the health field.
Health and Social Services Minister Dr Bernard Haufiku on 11 May convened a meeting with the northern political office bearers and local medical professionals at Ongwediva, where he said a referral hospital is planned for the Oshana Region.
Haufiku pointed out that the planned referral hospital will serve patients from Kunene, Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana and Omusati regions.
It is to address the ferrying of patients from those regions to Windhoek Central and Katutura State hospitals for medical treatment such as oncology.
Haufiku also mentioned that the project of a new district hospital that was planned to be built at Ondangwa had been shelved due to the economic hardships Government is enduring.
Ondangwa residents want the referral hospital to be built in their town, seeing that district hospital has been shelved.
Mayor of Ondangwa, Paavo Amwele, earlier told Nampa his town council has already availed land for the construction of the planned district hospital and believes it is also fit for a referral hospital.
Ondangwa residents claim in their petition that by bringing in Ongwediva on 11 May, is just a tactic and plan to discredit Ondangwa and build this hospital in Ongwediva.
They argued Ondangwa is the oldest and fast growing town in the region and has a population of between 35 000 to 45 000, who are served just by a small State clinic.
We are pleading with your Excellency, President Geingob to rescue us and pave the way for fairness and openness in Oshana Region, spokesperson of the Ondangwa residents, John Kandidus said as he read their petition.
Close to 40 residents signed the petition. Close to 22 000 people live in Ondangwa according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census.