The German government has handed over a state-of-the-art mobile field hospital to the Namibian Defence Force (NDF), which will use the hospital to deliver operational and emergency health care services during military operations and provide emergency civilian health care services for relief agencies in the event of natural disasters.
The mobile field hospital was handed over to the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) at Luiperds Vallei on February 26 by Ambassador Onno Hückmann together with Lieutenant General Dr Ingo Patschke, Surgeon General of Germany’s Federal Armed Forces. It was received by the Chief of the Namibian Defence Force, Lieutenant General Epaphras Denga Ndaitwah.
The mobile military hospital, which is the first if its kind in Southern Africa, can treat up to 40 outpatients per day and has an admission capacity of 20 patients at a time. Furthermore, dental treatment of up to 20 patients and four operations are possible.
Detailed logistics enables the mobile field hospital to bring all the necessary equipment with its own transport to the area it is deployed. Water purifiers, water tanks, kitchens, generators, toilet and shower containers as well as sewage and refuse disposals are part of the self-contained operation of the hospital.
The hospital can be deployed in all types of terrain as it is mounted on a 4-wheel drive overlander vehicle. It has two intensive care units, laboratories, an X-ray unit and a mobile oxygen concentrator which allows it to produce its own oxygen. Ambassador Huckmann was quoted by Namibian newspaper New Era as saying the donation of the mobile field hospital is yet another milestone in bi-lateral co-operation in the defence sectors of the two countries.
The ambassador said the new hospital puts the NDF well ahead of other African armies in terms of capacity to provide field-based military health care services during operations. “The hospital can be considered not only as the core project implemented to date, it is also unique in the Southern African region. It also makes Namibia the only country able to contribute a fully fledged field hospital within regional or African-wide peace-keeping missions,” Huckmann said.
It enables the Namibian Armed Forces to support peace keeping missions of up to 1,000 soldiers within the framework of UN, AU or SADC missions.
Some Namibian soldiers received substantial language training with the aid of the Goethe-Institut as well as medical training at the German Armed Forces hospitals in Hamburg and Berlin.
The donation of the military hospital marks the strengthening of a bi-lateral defence co-operation agreement which has seen Germany supply 20 ambulances, three containers and 20 tonnes of medical equipment to the NDF between 2005 and 2008.
Ndaitwah paid tribute to Germany’s contribution towards the fulfilment of the NDF’s healthcare needs, including the training of several military staff through programmes funded by the German government. “As a result (of bilateral defence co-operation), several military health workers have been trained, namely, medical health instructors, basic support and dental assistance operators,” Ndaitwah said. The German government also has running assistance programmes aimed at developing the operational capacity of the Namibian Navy.