WINDHOEK: First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba on Monday said women’s access to healthcare in Namibia is a concern.
“Through better healthcare, women will be able to participate in economic development through entrepreneurship,” she said during the official opening of the three-day rural women Parliament session in Windhoek.
The National Council’s Standing Committee on Women Caucus is hosting the first-ever rural women’s empowerment Parliament session, which is aimed at empowering women on grassroots level with regards to Namibia’s democratic processes.
The First Lady said the country has a high level of gender-based violence, adding that the rise in passion killings is very alarming and reminiscent of a sick society.
Studies estimate that one out of three women in Namibia experience domestic abuse, and the country also has a high rate of rape incidences which particularly affects young girls and women, she said.
“We should all reject violence of any kind perpetrated against any person, men, women and young and old,” she stressed.
Pohamba, who is also president of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS, said the prevention of the transmission of HIV/AIDS is very close to her heart. She said she wants to see a total elimination of the disease.
The event commenced at the National Council Chambers this morning.
Two women and one man from each of the country’s 13 regions are attending the Special Parliament session under the theme ‘Promoting Gender Equality in the Democratic Process from the Lense of Grassroots Women’.
Topics to be debated include child-bearing, maternal and child deaths, as well as issues concerning violence, illegal abortion, baby dumping, passion killing, suicide, among others.
The ‘parliamentarians’ will also deliberate on issues of economic empowerment, while the Ministry of Trade and Industry will be called in to explain to the women how the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Bank, which is yet to be launched, will operate.