Nuclear Medicine Unit now open at Oshakati

12 Dec 2013 17:30pm
OSHAKATI, 12 DEC (NAMPA) – President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Thursday officially inaugurated a state-of-the-art Nuclear Medicine Unit at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital in the Oshana Region.
The inauguration function was attended by, amongst others, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amono, Health Minister Dr Richard Kamwi, and Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali.
“I am pleased to note that the IAEA is working with various local institutions in the furtherance of its mission to transfer nuclear technology for social and economic development,” Pohamba said in his inauguration speech.
The president explained that the opening of the said unit is a result of the collaboration between the IAEA and the government of Namibia.
According to Pohamba, the unit will contribute to the improvement of the quality of health of Namibian people, which is a priority for the government.
“This facility will provide services which were previously inaccessible and unaffordable to many of our people,” the Head of State noted.
Pohamba said he strongly believes that the establishment of the unit will translate into meaningful benefits for the people by providing them with diagnosis and treatment, and thereby improving the quality of their health.
He went on to say that nuclear technology is sensitive - both as a tool that can threaten people’s health and as a tool that can threaten world peace.
“In this context, we have established the necessary control and monitoring capabilities under the Ministry of Health and Social Services to ensure that our people and the environment are protected against harmful radiation exposure, and that the use of radiation generating devices or material is safe and secure,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Kamwi pointed out that the establishment of a Nuclear Medicine Unit at Oshakati was a joint project of collaboration between the IAEA and the Namibian government.
He said the project was initiated in 2005 to expand nuclear medicine capability in the country.
Kamwi revealed that the government spent about N.dollars 22 million in construction of the building and procurement of equipment, while the IAEA contributed N.dollars 11 million in funding expertise, equipment and training of staff.
On his part, Amono said the IAEA collaborated with the Namibian authority in many areas of energy, including making nuclear technics available to improve the health of the people and that of animals, to increase agricultural production, and to manage rural water.
The Oshakati Nuclear Medicine Unit is the third in the country, and will serve the northern regions of Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto and the Kunene Region mainly in cancer control.
The first nuclear medicine unit in the country was established in Windhoek before independence, while the second privately-owned one, also in the capital, was set up at independence.
Kamwi said the next nuclear medicine unit will be established in Rundu for the Kanago East and West regions, and then another for the southern regions.
Anni Hatutale-Usiku and Shitaleni Herman are the two Namibian specialists running the Oshakati Nuclear Medicine Unit.