Tujoromajo Kasuto

IN a bizarre turn of events, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has purchased a 70-bed tented ward located in Windhoek Central Hospital for around N$4.5 million, after its rental agreement expired.

Critics say the N$4.5 million could have been used to renovate the already existing hospital or build a concrete ward structure. The Executive Director (ED) of MoHSS, Ben Nangombe, says upon the ending of the renting period from July to October 2021, the ministry decided that the best option would be to buy the tent so that they would easily deployable whenever they need additional facilities and space.

The ministry initially only hired or rented the tent and the private sector provided donations of over N$ 4 million to support various necessities of the ward, including fittings to support the beds, peeving, lights, toilets and clinical supplies amongst other needs.

Furthermore he says purchasing tent is distinguishable from renting, which the ministry was assisted with by a donation from the private sector through the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) in July, adding that the private sector supported the establishment of the ward by donating money to hire the tent until the end of October only.

He says the tent was purchased because the N$ 4.5 million buying price is close to the renting price of about N$4 million for a period of only four months that the Government would have paid to rent the tent.

Meanwhile at the 36th Covid Briefing last Friday, the Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula announced that the donated 40-bed tented ward at Oshakati Intermediate Hospital has been commissioned.

Contracts for the construction of the 98-bed Isolation Facility, an Extension to the Katutura Hospital TB Ward were signed. The site was handed over to the contractor and construction work has started and the the projected date for completion is early February 2022.

In addition, the 12-bed prefabricated Isolation Facilities for Okahao, Okahandja and Karasburg Hospitals were all commissioned. Isolation facilities at Andara and Otjiwarongo are at 78% and 82% completion. The outstanding components are medical gas installations and external works.

He said they will be completed by the end of this month and the facilities will be commissioned shortly thereafter and the conversion of the Katutura State Hospital Nurses Hall into a 40-bed ward facility has been completed.

The construction of a 15-bed ICU at Keetmanshoop State Hospital has also been completed and handed over to hospital management.