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New Community Health Outreach Centre Inaugurated at Oponona Centre in Iipumbu yaTshilongo Conservancy.

By: Sirkka Kanalelo – Namibia Development Trust (NDT) - 28 April 2023

A new community health centre that will benefit at least 500 residents was inaugurated at Oponona Centre, Uuvudhiya Constituency in Iipumbu ya Tshilongo Conservancy on the 28th April 2023. The facility constructed to the tune of N$106,328.10 consists of two consulting rooms, an ablution facility and a shaded patient waiting area structure. The project was constructed using conservancy funds as budgeted under their community development projects and was approved by the members during the Annual General Meeting held in July, 2022. The inauguration was attended by more than 95 people.

Over the years, access to health care services has been a great challenge to Oponona residents which becomes even dire especially during the flood season. The conservancy management committee held discussions to construct the health facility to provide its members access to and adequate primary health care which was equally welcomed by the members. The health outreach centre was officially inaugurated and handed over by the Chief of Uukwambi Traditional Authority, Tatekulu Herman Ndilimani Iipumbu to the Ministry of Health and Social Services – Oshana Region. The Centre’s inauguration theme was “Empowering lives of people through natural resources benefits distribution”. The facility will operate once a month providing services such as growth monitoring in children under five years, health promotion, vaccination of children and women at child-bearing age, nutrition assessment for pregnant and breastfeeding women, ARV treatment, screening for minor ailments as well as ante-natal care services.

Namibia Development Trust (NDT) as a social changing entity encourages sustainable natural resource management and utilization continues to provide technical support to North Central conservancy CBOs including Ipumbu ya Tshilongo Conservancy since its inception in 2012. In his remarks on behalf of NDT, the Regional Program Manager for North Central Regions, Mr Teo Ntinda highlighted that, “NDT is indeed proud to have been part of the Iipumbu ya Tshilongo Conservancy journey to bring upon what they have today, it has been a journey associated with volunteerism and great minds that have led to development such as this through the Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) Programme. As an institution, we thus take the opportunity to acknowledge the founding members of the conservancy, Uukwambi Traditional Authority under Tatekulu Herman Ndilimani Iipumbu’s leadership for ensuring that the conservancy dream is realized since its formation”.

The realization of this health facility speaks volume on how member engagement within conservancies is critical in governance and institutional development. Additionally, this is in line with the directive from the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism that all 86 conservancies in Namibia should invest 50% of income generated from wildlife and tourism in community development projects that shall be identified by conservancy members. The health outreach centre is not only commendable but worth recognizing with dignity as the conservancy has utilized their wildlife quota allocation exceptionally well.

The Centre’s inauguration theme was “Empowering lives of people through natural resources benefits distribution”.

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