Pregnant women get a shelter at Engela

31 May 2017 | Health

Pregnant women who were camping in tents opposite the Engela State Hospital in the Ohangwena Region have been moved to a shelter by the health ministry.

Women from distant villages had to endure harsh conditions for months on end while waiting for their confinement.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services this month moved them to a shelter about 200 metres from the main entrance of the hospital.

The shelter consists of eight rooms with eight beds each, toilets and a kitchen.

The women moved into the shelter on 11 May. The building is not new, but it was not in use for some time.

“The maternity waiting shelter near Engela State Hospital was in the past non-operational because of a lack of ownership. After consultations by the Ministry of Health and Social Services with relevant stakeholders an agreement was reached for the ministry to take over the maternity waiting shelter,” the ministry said in response to questions sent.

“The ministry renovated the structure and paid the massive water bill that was outstanding to reconnect the water supply. The pregnant women were immediately moved into the shelter in May 2017 while relevant criteria were set to avoid illegal squatters,” the ministry further responded.

Namibian women pay a weekly fee of N$14 while those from neighbouring Angola pay a fee of N$21.

During a visit to the shelter, some of the women expressed relief at the move. They were glad to be sleeping safely in beds in a protected structure. The shelter is also less noisy than their previous camping site next to a road.

“Now we are sleeping on beds and not on those mattresses which were not that comfortable,” one woman said. “We are also safe here, there is no fear of cars running into our tents and that noise at night. As it is winter now we are also not going to endure that much cold because we are living in a good environment now,” she said.