Baby dies of malnutrition in Tsumeb

Hertta-Maria Amutenja.

A nine-month-old baby from Tsumeb died on 30 May due to malnutrition.

The family, living in a household with more than eight children, faces financial difficulties.

Both parents are unemployed, and none of the children receive any government grants or assistance.

Family spokesperson Belinda Gawases stated that the baby’s mother had been seeking drought relief from the Tsumeb constituency council office since December last year.

“The baby has been sick since December last year, and since then, the mother and I have been going to ask for assistance from the Tsumeb constituency council office for drought relief, but we were told the drought relief is only for nearby Tsumeb farms and not for Tsumeb residents.,” she said.

Despite explaining their situation, Gawases claimed they were informed that the relief food was exclusively intended for the nearby farmworkers in the surrounding areas of Tsumeb Farm, not for urban residents.

Gawases said that they left without assistance and that councillor Gottlieb Ndjendjela had put them on hold until the baby passed away.

“We left the council’s office without assistance or drought relief, despite the mother explaining her situation. The councillor has been putting her on hold until the baby died,” said Gawases.

Ndjendjela confirmed the baby’s death but did not confirm the cause.

He said he had offered assistance from his own pocket and that the council provided leftover drought relief when available.

He pointed out that the family was not eligible for regular drought relief because it was only available to registered individuals and nearby farms.

“They do not receive the drought relief as it’s meant for those that are registered, and when it comes from Omuthiya, it is meant for the people at nearby farms. I have not refused them drought relief,” he said.

Ndjendjela also mentioned that the family approached the council for burial funding four days after the baby’s death, but the process could take up to a month, which the family said they could not wait for.

A social media post by Lisken Classen called upon the Tsumeb community to support the family, highlighting their financial struggles and need for funds to cover the baby’s burial expenses.

Classen posted that a community member had bought a casket for the baby, but additional funds were still required.

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