ROSH PINAH: The Skorpion Zinc mine and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to construct a new Tuberculosis (TB) Ward in the Katutura State Hospital this year.
The signing took place alongside the inauguration of the State clinic at Rosh Pinah, which was made possible by the two parties.
The TB Ward at the Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek will be used as a disease control unit for TB patients.
Health Minister, Dr Richard Kamwi and General Manager at Skorpion Zinc Satish Kumar signed the MoU.
It is not yet clear how much money each party will contribute, and when exactly work will start on the TB Ward.
Speaking shortly after signing, Kamwi stated that one of the major challenges facing the health sector remains the co-infection between HIV/AIDS and TB.
He said because of competing priorities in the health sector, it has always been a challenge for Government to source funding for proper isolation wards countrywide.
Kamwi noted that to address the funding problem Government approached the private sector to assist, and Skorpion Zinc responded.
“The co-infection between TB and HIV/AIDS currently stands at 60 per cent in Namibia.
There are times I do not know which one comes first between the two, but Namibia is doing well in reducing HIV infections and our target is to reach zero infections, zero discrimination and eventually zero deaths,” he explained.
The minister used the opportunity to urge all Namibians to know their HIV status in order to seek the necessary assistance at clinics and hospitals.
“The lives of people with HIV are now able to be prolonged to the point that it now seems as if there is no difference between the sick and healthy, so let’s seek treatment,” he motivated.
The minister then expressed his appreciation for an alcohol policy at the Skorpion mine, by which staff members who have consumed alcohol are not allowed to enter the premises.
He said it is good that staff members are being tested upon entering the mine, and whoever’s breath shows a certain percentage of alcohol is subjected to a warning or face suspension after three warnings.
“Alcohol and drugs kill our people in this country, thus we should continue to collectively fight it,” he advised.
Rosh Pinah is situated 360 kilometres south of Keetmanshoop in the Karas Region.