The UNAM Clinic in collaboration with Namibian Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA) and the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) project, spend three days providing general health check-ups on students on campus as part of the Directorate of Student Affairs (DSA) annual health awareness week.
This initiative, held under the theme “Your health is your wealth”, focused on educating the UNAM community as well as offering free basic health care services such as pap smears, breast examinations, HIV testing and Covid-19 vaccinations, among others.
According to Velikoshi Tangeni, the Assistant Dean of Professional Services, this initiative seeks to create awareness and foster a culture where students seek health services even when they feel healthy.
“We believe in prevention and don’t want students to only come to the clinic when they are sick. Our mandate is to produce healthy and well students that will not be hindered to continue their studies,” said Velikoshi.
He further added that this initiative also seeks to bring these services closer to students. “Students normally have to get these tests done elsewhere which can be costly in terms of transport and fees. This is why we are offering these services on campus to improve accessibility” he added.
Sophia Andrew, a registered nurse at the UNAM Clinic, remarked that this initiative is very crucial because most of the students do not have medical aid and cannot go to private doctors for routine examinations such as pap smears, family planning, and so forth.
“We have noticed a high number of students turning up thus far and through our collaboration with DREAMS and NAPPA – we have more hands to assist and cater to as many students as possible,” said a relieved Andrew.
One student who received some of these services, Laimi Mbangula, expressed her gratitude for this initiative. “These are very important things that we need to do but time and other constraints limit us. However, UNAM has brought them to us and that is very helpful,” she said.
Another student who opted to remain anonymous disclosed that the healthcare providers conducted the test with the highest professionalism. “They were very friendly and they made sure to provide thorough answers to any questions that were asked,” she stated.
The annual health week is an initiative that the Directorate of Student Affairs organised across all UNAM campuses. This year, the directorate collaborated with NAPPA, as well as the DREAMS project, which seeks to reduce new HIV infections among adolescents and young women.