by Helvy Shaanika
KUANDO KUBANGO – Masses of Angolan nationals that daily trek to Namibia for health and education services want their government to construct hospitals and schools in Angola to reduce their reliance on Namibian schools and hospitals.
During a meeting recently by two Angolan governors, Eusebio de Brito Teixera, of Kuando Kubango and Antonio Didalelwa of Cunene Province and Ohangwena Governor Usko Nghaamwa at Olupale village of Kuando Kubango Province in Angola, Angolan citizens said it was time that their government constructed schools and hospitals for them.
They said their children have to travel dozens of kilometers on a daily basis to Namibia where they attend school.
In fact, many Angolan youths and children that are supposed to be at school remain illiterate because their homes are far from the border, making it impossible for them to access school.
Thousands of Angolan nationals in southern, southeastern and southwestern Angola heavily depend on the Namibia government’s education and health facilities. Namibian schools at border towns and villages accommodate a large number of Angolan children with the result that some institutions have become overcrowded.
State hospitals in Namibia, mainly Okongo, Enhana, Engela, all in Ohangwena Region, Rucana Health Centre in Kunene Region, Outapi State Hospital in Omusati Region, Rundu State Hospital in Kavango Region and a number of health centres and clinics, are ever inundated by Angolan citizens queuing up together with Namibians for medical services. Some travel as far as Oshakati State Hospital and Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospitals in Oshana and Oshikoto regions respectively.
“We want our own hospital, and it should also have anti-retroviral treatment because our people who are HIV-positive have to get ARV treatment in Namibia,” said Ernesto Braao, headman of Olupale Village.
Most of these people come from villages as far as Evale and other villages within a radius of more than 200 km from Angolan and Namibian borders.
Villagers from southern Angola claim that there are no hospitals close to their villages inside their country, while some claim that services offered by the few available health facilities are poor.
“If you take someone to the hospital in Angola and he/she gets hospitalised, you have to nurse that person. You are required to sit next to that patient’s bed day and night but you are not provided with a bed. Nurses in Angola only give medicine and nothing else, unlike in Namibia, where patients are just in the hands of nurses and family members only provide emotional and moral support to the patients,” explained one Angolan national.
During the meeting, De Brito Teixera told the gathering that the construction of a school at Olupale village is finally underway, while a hospital would be constructed soon.