Andrew Kathindi

Namibian medical students in Cuba are pleading with President Hage Geingob to assist with the delivery of parcels organized by the relatives, amid claims some of the items are spoiling in the Health Ministry’s facility storage.

This comes two months after a South African Airways plane which was scheduled to travel to Cuba on 3 July with the said parcels left with only Namibian Ambassador to Cuba, Samuel /Gôagoseb, without the packages.

The students have now accused the Health Ministry of abandoning them and leaving their items to rot, after no progress has been made on delivering their parcels.

“The bags are likely to have food items as well and some are likely to get spoiled due to prolonged storage,” President of Namibian International Students’ Organization (NAMISO) Aindaka Fredinand Namwaapo told Windhoek Observer.

Another medical student in Cuba told Windhoek Observer that they have made several appeals to the Ministry, which have been consistently ignored.

“A lot of planes from South Africa came to Cuba in July and August, and the ministry promised to utilize such opportunity but they failed to do so. We’re really afraid some things went bad, spoiling the whole bag contents. They didn’t inform us about the status quo, we keep getting ignored many times.”

The student added, “We’re tired man, sometimes fighting with no results. However, MoHSS should just know that as far as how much this may sound like a threat, we’re not just limited to work for them, we can work anywhere in the world with this international degree.”

The student further accused the health Ministry of poisoning their patriotism.

There are currently over 250 Namibian medical students in Cuba, most of whom have recently launched a coordinated appeal to President Hage Geingob to intervene in their situation, which some say has become dire.

“Mr President, we are suffering. We need the bags with our cosmetics that are stranded in Namibia. Please hear the cries of the Namibian Medical Students in Cuba. Please come to our rescue,” one student wrote.

Health Ministry Executive Director, Ben Nangombe claimed that finance remains the biggest issue in the Ministry coming to the students’ rescue.

“Because of travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19, the only way to get those parcels there is to charter a plane which is very expensive. To Charter a plane to Addis Ababa is about N$3 million. Now imagine one to Cuba. All the quotations we got to charter a plane where exorbitant,” the Health ED said.

He claimed the Ministry had in the last two months explored several avenues to help the students, including buying similar items for the students in Cuba, however that Nangombe said, made impossible by a United States economic embargo on Cuba.

“The students have not been abandoned and they know that very well. We have recently got a quotation and begun a process to get these items to the students in Cuba. Of course, we have to use all possible means of frugality.”