Following the recent partial opening of the newly built JP Kavindama Primary hospital in Shakawe, it is envisaged that the facility will swing into full operation in 2023.
The first phase of the facility, which has come as a relief to residents of Okavango, particularly those from the eastern panhandle, was was in 2021, when it was used as a COVID-19 isolation centre.
Recently the facility transitioned into the second phase of the opening of some specified services that include outpatient services, social work services, counselling services, pharmaceutical services, maternity services (labour and delivery services, immediate neonatal care services, immediate ante-natal care services, immediate post-natal care services) and laboratory services.
In a statement recently, the ministry said the opening of these services to the public, marked the second phase of the hospital opening, in line with the President’s pledge to bringing health services closer to the people and also in fulfilment of the United Nations Development Goal number three, which aspires for good health and wellbeing of all people by 2030.
According to the ministry, the next phase of the hospital opening will take place in 2023, and the 70 bed facility is expected to be fully operational the same year.
This will include the opening of all other remaining services like accidents and emergencies services, out-patient department services, general consultations, management of communicable and non-communicable diseases, basic physiotherapy services, dietetics services, basic eye services, dental services, radiology – x-ray and ultra-sound services and mortuary services.
Meanwhile local authorities in Okavango have welcomed the partial opening of the hospital as it will relief residents in the area who travel long distances to seek health services in Gumare and Maun.
Okavango Sub District Council Chairman, Lesedi Boy said they have long waited for the hospital to offer health services closer to their communities. He said besides health services, hospital has created employment opportunities for the locals, with more than 125 people in the sub district employed on temporary basis. Boy added that their expectation is for the hospital to create more permanent job opportunities for the residents in the next phase.
Shakawe-Mohembo Councillor, Matsaudi Matsaudi has said the more than130 km distance that was travelled by the patients from Shakawe to Gumare, and almost 200 km for those in the eastern panhandle was a heavy burden on the residents. The councillor added that the opening of the hospital will also reduce the pressure and workloads that were experienced at Gumare Hospital due to high number of patients.