Members of Parliament pose for a group picture with staff and other stakeholders at the Onesi health centre in the Omusati region
|Story by George Sanzila
Health challenges such as lack of lack of resources, inadequate staff and high teenage pregnancies continue to haunt many constituencies in the Omusati region. These challenges were unearthed during a visit to the region by Members of Parliament from the Standing Committee on gender equality, social development and family affairs.
The Onesi health care centre is overwhelmed with patients, some coming from surrounding villages not in its catchment area. Over 1900 patients are said to be on anti-retro viral treatment from a population of over 6800. Staff shortage is a major concern that is hindering better provision of health services at the facility.
Similar concerns were raised in the Etayi Constituency that has over 30 000 residents with a few clinics forcing many people to walk long distances to access health services. Teenage pregnancies as a result have continued to rise in many areas of the constituency with the pregnancy rate currently standing at 17%. Adolescent girls as young as 14 years fall pregnant. Many young people shy away from knowing their HIV status according to information provided by the Directorate of health.
Although the Okalongo health centre has received new infrastructure replete with patient admission rooms, it continues to function as a clinic with restrictive operating hours. This situation often result in patients being transported to Oshikuku district hospital which lies over 20 kilometers away.
Members of Parliament are on a one week visit of the Omusati and Oshana regions as part of their oversight function to identify challenges related to the provision of health services in the two regions.
MPs include Hons. Ida Hoffman, Jennifer van Den Heever, Reinhold Nauyoma, Norah Munsu and Johanna Kandjimi.