UN delegation visits community projects in Windhoek
06 May 2023
United Nations (UN) Country Team Social Transformation Pillar joint field visit was capped of under the leadership of Hopolang Phororo, UN Resident to Namibia.
UN Namibia delegation consisting of partners from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNESCO, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNAIDS under the flagship of the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) visited various UN supported projects in underserved communities in Windhoek.
The high-level site visit took place on Wednesday (April,19). The Epandulo community in the Moses Garoeb constituency is one of the communities visited by the delegation which also consisted of officials from the Khomas Regional Council as well as the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The Resident Coordinator, Ms Hopolang Phororo, WHO Representative, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses and Khomas Governor, Laura McLeod-Katjirua were part of the delegation that interacted with the community members at Epandulo where supplementary vaccination and nutritional services were provided to children under the age of five years.
The supplementary vaccination activities were for all childhood diseases and included Vitamin A supplementation and deworming for children. The campaign started at 9 A.M and by 1 P.M, 111 children had received Vitamin A supplements, 116 Albendazole, over 20 children who missed their 15 months measles vaccines were identified at the site and subsequently vaccinated against measles.
In addition, a few children were vaccinated against polio and 137 children were screened for malnutrition, using the Measuring Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC). Mothers who missed their tetanus vaccines were also vaccinated at the site.
Elisabeth Heita, the Chief Health Programme Officer for Family Health in the Ministry of Health and Social Services explained that the supplementary immunisation activity was meant to boost immunisation coverage in the Khomas region (Windhoek and the surrounding areas). In August and September last year, the Ministry of Health and Social Services had a measles and rubella campaign.
“After six months we have to give vitamin A supplementation and deworming to the children again and that is why we are here,” explained Heita. The supplementation campaign was also meant to take the health services closer to the communities, explained Heita.
“Most of the mothers don’t take their children to the health care facilities for immunisation unless their child is sick,” Heita explained. The children who were screened and found to be severely malnourished were provided with therapeutic foods and also referred to their nearest health facilities for further treatment, Heita explained.
The Khomas Region Occupational Therapist was also on site to identify and refer children with disabilities for treatment at the health facilities. The community health workers at the site further used the opportunity to provide health education to the community. Meanwhile, Dr. Sagoe-Moses told the health professionals and communities present that the visit was meant to observe what is happening at the grassroots level. “We want to see the things that you do and participate in some of it,” he said. He also explained that the site visit was part of an agreement between the UN and the Namibian government to support development in the country.
In 2022, the UN donated USD 6.7 million to the Namibian health sector. The nutritional supplements used at the Epandulo site were procured with support from UNICEF.
Furthermore, the WHO continuously provides technical and financial support to the Ministry of Health and Social Services including the development of health education training materials. The supplementary immunisation activities also took place at other sites in Windhoek and were held ahead of the African Vaccination week slated for the end of April.