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It’s about time – Havana welcomes district hospital

Written by on May 17, 2024

… Govt says construction of long-awaited hospital is not campaign ploy

Havana resident Sylvia Efraim says her dream has finally come true.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the new N$2,9-billion hospital at her informal settlement yesterday has put a smile on her face.

“Although I am now getting old, I am still very grateful for this, because we have been suffering,” she says.

Efraim is one of many Havana residents who are thrilled to have the envisaged Windhoek District Hospital at their doorstep.

“We will finally have a hospital close to us, because the closest clinics are normally very full, and many of us are referred to Katutura State Hospital, which is far away,” she says.


Meanwhile, minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula says the planned construction of a district hospital is not a campaign tool of the Swapo government.

Shangula, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the hospital in the Havana informal settlement yesterday, dispelled suggestions that the hospital, expected to be completed in 2027, is a campaign ploy by Swapo to canvas votes ahead of the November elections.

Shangula said when he was appointed health minister in 2018, building the district hospital was one of his priorities, however, plans were offset by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

“The construction of this hospital could have started a lot earlier had it not been due to Covid-19, so please understand us correctly – it is not an election ploy. We have lost three years to implement our planned programmes due to Covid-19,” he said.

Plans to construct a district hospital for the Khomas region have been on the cards for years.

In 2016, New Era reported that these plans were delayed for close to 10 years due to challenges with land allocation.

At the time, the health ministry said it was still in the process of discussions with the City of Windhoek on matters related to the provision of bulk services at the identified portion of land at Havana informal settlement.

Yesterday, Shangula said the Cabinet only approved the construction of the district hospital in May 2023.

Activist Michael Amushelelo has criticised the delays in building the hospital.

“Sadly because our people have short-term memories . . . Most have already forgotten that in 2016 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to build this very same hospital, and nothing was built.

“This is election year, and fools will be fooled as per usual,” he wrote on social media.

Vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, also speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday, said the construction of the hospital would create hundreds of jobs.

She said the involved contractors have been instructed to prioritise these jobs for Havana residents.

“It would also be cheaper for the contractors, because people already live here,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.

The planned district hospital aims to ease the congestion at Katutura Intermediate Hospital and Windhoek Central Hospital.

Shangula further said the public has been scrambling for healthcare services, leading to overcrowding and capacity constraints on the part of healthcare workers.

“Because Katutura Intermediate Hospital serves both as a referral and district hospital, it is aways congested,” he said.


According to another Havana resident, Julia Erasmus (35), the most exciting part of the newly yet-to-be constructed hospital is the possibility of getting employed.

“I really want to be employed at the hospital as a cleaner,” she says.

Namutenya Haimbodi (36) says her worst hospital experience was due to overcrowded hospitals.

“My son was sick and I had to rush him to the Wanaheda clinic. The clinic was so overcrowded when I got there, so I was referred to Katutura Intermediate Hospital, and he only got assisted in the evening. We got home at around eleven at night only,” she says.

An inter-ministerial technical working committee was established to provide the government with policy and technical advice on the project.

The post It’s about time – Havana welcomes district hospital appeared first on The Namibian.

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