Ondangwa waits in vain for a new hospital

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Five years since the Cabinet approved the construction of a new referral hospital in Ondangwa in the Oshana region that was supposed to start in 2022, the project has not begun due to financial constraints.

Ben Nangombe, The Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, said the ministry is looking for financial assistance to launch the project.

“It can only be resources that are holding us back. Due to our limited resources, we are looking for funding for this project. I’m not really quite certain when the construction of that hospital will begin. Nevertheless, we have begun work on the Windhoek hospital,” he said.

The hospital is indeed going to be constructed, he continued, adding that the ministry is just waiting on its budget allocation.

The envisaged hospital when completed will serve the six northern regions, namely Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Omusati, Kunene and part of Kavango West.

In 2021 Oshana Regional Governor Elia Irimari said the construction of the hospital was supposed to start in 2022, however, the project could not begin because of a lack of money.

“It did not commence but it had to. We could not commence with the little money. There is the first stage that has to be completed before the construction of the hospital starts. We are sure that the hospital is going to be built. We are just waiting for the new budget allocation. I believe we will still get N$5 million for the project,” he said.

At the time, he said during his state of region address in Oshakati that there was an allocation of N$5 million that will be channelled towards the construction of the new health facility.

In the same year, the health ministry allocated N$1.3 million that was earmarked to compensate homestead owners at Ondangwa in order to pave the way for the development of the hospital.

The health ministry has been in consultation with the finance ministry for guidance on the financing of the project since 2016.

The Ondangwa town council allocated land in the town to the ministry in 2007, but engineers advised them that the land was not suitable for the hospital.

New land was then provided in Extension 4, behind the Ondangwa Industrial Park.

Construction was set to start in May 2017 and was expected to be completed by 2021.

Earlier this year, health minister Kalumbi Shangula said the site has been earmarked but has not been fenced off yet.

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