Japan ambassador visits Andara hospital

SUPPORT … District pharmacist Cornel Mkenge shares the benefits of the bulk storage facility Japan donated with ambassador Nishimaki Hisao. Photo: Matthew Dlamini

While returning from attending the independence celebration at Katima Mulilo, Japanese ambassador Nishimaki Hisao made a brief stop at the Andara Roman Catholic Hospital on Thursday to see some of the equipment his country donated to Namibia with the help of United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

He was accompanied by the Unicef country representative Samuel Ocran to the 120-bed health facility situated 200km from Rundu in the Kavango East region.

They were taken around by district pharmacist Cornel Mkenge and acting senior medical officer Erasmus Hapanyengwi, who showed them the walk-in bulk cold storage facility.

The storage facility is part of nine walk-on refrigerators that were procured through a US$1,6 million donation from the Japanese government in 2023 and distributed to nine districts. In addition, the Japanese government also provided training to technicians who maintain the cold storage facility.

Speaking during the visit, Hisao said it’s pleasing to see how the support of the people of Japan is making an immediate positive impact to the communities on the ground.

“I am pleased with what I have seen,” he said.

Mkenge said the cold storage facility had alleviated the challenges they faced when storing medicines in small fridges because they catered for nine clinics and one outreach team.

“We are grateful for the storage facility because it has helped us better cater for the district with a patient catchment area of 62 500 people. This has enabled us to provide safe, timely and readily available vaccines and medicines to children and the population of Andara.

“What we have seen is one of the many life-saving equipment given to the ministry of health for the benefit of Namibians. We could not have done it without such and we are extremely grateful for the long-standing and valuable partnership between Japan and Unicef,” said Ocran.

The team will also be visiting the Rundu Intermediate hospital on Friday to witness the cold-chain equipment provided to the hospital through Japan’s support. The team will also interact with the beneficiaries and learn from the health workers how the equipment has helped in making their work easier and saving lives. – email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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