The University of Namibia (UNAM) recently handed over a Medical Oxygen Production Plant to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) in Nkurenkuru, Kavango-West region sponsored by the Welsh Government through the Phoenix project of Cardiff University to address the shortage of medical oxygen across Namibia. This was made possible with support and assistance from the First Minister of Wales, HE Mark Drakeford, the Head of Africa Desk as well as Cardiff University and the Executive Dean of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Prof Judith Hall.
This donation forms part of the university’s flagship corporate social responsibility project, namely UNAM Cares. UNAM with financial support from the Welsh Government managed to hand over 2x Medical Oxygen tanks to Grootfontein and Gobabis, and two (2) Medical Oxygen Production Plants to Katima Mulilo and Nkurenkuru, respectively.
Dr Rachel Freeman, Head of UNAM Cares in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Senior Lecturer in Social Work, stated that the need for an Oxygen Production Plant is due to the insufficient supply of medical oxygen experienced by patients during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
“This shortage prompted the University’s Leadership who, with the assistance of the Founder of the Phoenix Project of Cardiff University, Professor Judith Hall, solicited international aid from the Welsh Government to the value of N$20 million to assist the Ministry of Health and Social Services to address the shortage of medical oxygen in Namibia.
UNAM Vice Chancellor, Professor Kenneth Matengu, during the handover, said this action was necessitated by the university’s mission to contribute to the achievement of national and international development goals.
“Although the university is in the education business of human capital production, UNAM’s Management decided to go beyond the call of teaching to be a relevant and engaged university that responds to the needs of society through its corporate social responsibility arm.
He further stated that “We have decided not to be a qualification production factory where we train and issue qualifications, but we want to do something meaningful that impacts and changes lives for the better”.
Professor Matengu added that, as a result, we have worked with the Ministry of Health and Social Services in assisting with COVID-19 public health campaigns, COVID-19 mobile Vaccination Clinics as well as with the elimination of the Hepatitis-E epidemic, which the country has successfully achieved.
The hand-over was officiated by the University of Namibia in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, who have been the recipient of the Oxygen Production Plant in Nkurenkuru, witnessed by the Regional Governor of Kavango-West region, Honourable Sirkka Ausiku. The Chairperson of the Kavango-West Management Committee, Honourable Sivaku Sikongo, on behalf of the people of Kavango-West expressed his immense gratitude to the University of Namibia and the Welsh Government for the donation, which will go a long way in improving the quality of health of the people in the region.