The Namibian: US volunteer doctors in Namibia

Reprinted from The Namibian, published 2018-08-08
by Sakeus Iikela

Twelve volunteer health practitioners from the United States are in Namibia to provide free healthcare to needy patients with orthopaedic conditions.

The doctors, representing an organisation called International Extremity Medical Mission, were invited to Namibia by businesswoman Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun and the United Africa Group, and have started with their operations at the Windhoek Central Hospital.

Bruce Lehnert, head of the mission, said during a dinner on Sunday that their mission was very important “because we help individuals and families get out of poverty”.

“Some of the children that we operate on are children who don't go to school or who require care at home by another individual. If we can make them free of their problems, they can then move on through generations for more prosperity,” he reasoned.

Lehnert stated that they will also donate orthopaedic equipment to the Katutura Intermediate Hospital, and give lectures at the University of Namibia's health and science campus.

“It's nice to hear that some of the equipment we donated the last time we were here is being used on a daily basis, and some of it is already worn-out,” he added.

After welcoming the doctors on Sunday, health minister Bernard Haufiku said Namibia would not be able to deliver on the call by the World Health Organisation for countries to provide access to basic healthcare without “pushing people into poverty or suffering catastrophic financial losses” without the help of partners.

Haufiku said while it was known that the public health sector faced many challenges, there was a need for partnerships between the public and the private sectors.

“This is what is going to propel us to at least meet some of our objectives. We have realised this early in Namibia to start gravitating us towards that objective, and we know the challenges are a lot.

“Whether it's human resources, infrastructure or equipment, we are challenged in almost every aspect, despite the best we are doing as a government and as a country. This generous offer by the Namundjebo family is more than welcome,” he noted.

The doctors will be working at the Windhoek Central Hospital and the Katutura Intermediate Hospital for three weeks.