Namibian defence minister Nahas Angula says his government has allocated N$450 million for the construction of a state-of-the-art military hospital which will serve the army, air force, navy and local and foreign VIPs.
Angula told Namibia’s ‘New Era’ newspaper that the construction of the hospital in Khomasdal was long overdue but has been stalled by a lack of funds. The plan is detailed in the Ministry of Defence’s 2014-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
“It is not a good thing when our soldiers are admitted to general hospitals which are sometimes overcrowded and where the care is not good. We need this hospital because if we have a (sick) foreign visitor, like a head of state, you do not want to take them to a commercial hospital but you would want to take care of them in a special facility,” Angula said.
He said the feasibility study for the project was completed last year and the construction phase is due to start early next year although it is still dogged by a lack of funds.
“It will take time to complete because of a lack of funds. The funds we budgeted for this year will be used to service the land and fence it off. But in subsequent budgets we will allocate money to it, and perhaps construction will start next year. We have too many things on our hands that we need to take care of. One of those things is the accommodation of our soldiers where a lot of money was spent to construct and renovate old barracks,” he said.
An extract from the MTEF document says the hospital will be an ‘international level’ project dedicated to the armed forces. “The hospital must cater for the latter at an international level. The project must avail better health care to the serving men and women and their families. This hospital will also ensure discretion during combat situations,” the document says.
The MTEF document shows that the government spent N$13 million last year on the project and will spend a further N$12 million this year.
The expenditure is expected to drop to N$3 million in 2015 but increase to N$50 million in 2016 as the project winds down.
The Namibian Defence Force (NDF) has one small military hospital which was opened in 2002 at the Grootfontein army base. The facility has 80 beds and offers basic health services at the level of a district referral hospital.
Last year, the army announced plans for the construction of a state of the art military field hospital with help and expertise from Germany.
Apart from the hospital projects, the NDF also has plans to build five new military bases around the country while a number of existing bases will be renovated and upgraded.
The force is also working on a number of soldier accommodation projects which are aimed at alleviating a serious shortage of accommodation and basic services for the army, the air force and the navy.