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Business / Economics

Hospital pie in the election sky

todayMay 27, 2024 70

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This story is republished with permission from The Tender Bulletin (Edition No. 1541 - 30 May 2024)

 

Swapo has spent close to N$1-b on its swanky new head office opposite the dilapidated Katutura Hospital on which the government has spent only N$120-m since 1994, attracting much public criticism. Now, with November’s general elections around the corner, Windhoek’s new District Hospital in Havana has suddenly been prioritised after languishing on the development budget with no expenditure since its launch in 2014/15. And the N$2.9-b new hospital is scheduled for completion in 2027, with only N$340-m budgeted until then.

The rezoning of the land on which the new hospital is to be built as well as the environmental impact assessment for the project are both still outstanding.

 

24 May 2024

Amidst much fanfare, the Namibian government last week staged a rushed groundbreaking ceremony for Windhoek’s new N$2.9-b District Hospital in the Havana settlement of the capital – ahead of the deadline for objections on rezoning the property on which it is to be built.

The project has been languishing on the development budget since it was first launched in 2014/15, with ongoing delays due to uncertainties around the designated property and to a shortage of funds, with no expenditure until 2020/21, according to the national development budget.

The sudden resuscitation of the Windhoek District Hospital project takes place as Swapo’s ostentatious new head office opposite the dilapidated Katutura Hospital nears completion amidst considerable public criticism about the ruling party’s misplaced priorities.

The new Swapo head office is being built by Chinese firm Unik Construction Engineering at a cost that has escalated from around N$700-m when construction began in 2019 to an estimated N$1-b. The 10-storey office complex includes basement parking, an auditorium and a huge golden statue of party founder Sam Nujoma (The Namibian, 31-Mar-24).

In comparison, only N$120-m has been spent on the Katutura Hospital since 1993/94, with a mere N$5-m voted for 2024/25, according to the latest national development budget.

The minister of Health & Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula had earlier this month invited parliamentarians to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new hospital on the 09-May-24 public holiday after which it was postponed by a week to 16 May.

Officiating at the ceremony, Swapo’s vice president and candidate for the country’s next president, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said the hospital will be funded in phases over the next five financial years.

She said in addition to N$2.9-b construction costs, the 500-bed hospital will require additional funding to a total of “more than N$16 billion” including “operational costs” between 2023/2024 and 2027/2028.

MHSS spokesperson Walters Kamaya later clarified that this outrageous amount referred to ministry’s Health System Strengthening Initiative as a whole.

Nandi-Ndaitwah denied that the timing of the hospital’s groundbreaking was to curry favour with voters ahead of November’s general elections, saying the project was delayed due to the Covid outbreak.

Executive Director at Ministry of Health & Social Services, Ben Nangombe said the hospital is strategically located in close proximity to the local community within Havana’s informal settlement and is expected to be complete in 2027, offering outpatient and inpatient care, featuring a pharmacy, radiology department, kitchen, and laundry.

The new hospital will also be equipped with solar water heating systems to reduce electricity costs and contribute to lowering carbon emissions.

Out of the 27 state hospitals, Namibia has five referral hospitals, while the Katutura, Oshakati, Onandjokwe and Rundu facilities are intermediate hospitals.

According to minister Shangula, the Katutura Intermediate Hospital will then transition into a Class B referral centre, receiving patients from Windhoek and other district hospitals and serve as training facility for interns and healthcare professionals.

While the Katutura Intermediate Hospital will focus on specialist services, training and research, the new Windhoek District Hospital will free up space for specialized services and reduce congestion and overcrowding in the Katutura Hospital wards.

The MHSS lists 1,150 outreach points, 309 health care facilities, 34 district hospitals and the four intermediate/referral hospitals on its website (The Namibian 08-Apr-24; The Brief 26-Apr-24, 16-May-24)

 

N$30-m voted in 2024/25

Although the health ministry has a N$457-m budget for development projects in the 2024/25 financial year, the new hospital is not listed on its procurement plan.

According to the national developmental budget for 2024/25, NPC code 18866 records the project’s commencement as 01-Apr-14, with

completion scheduled for 31-Mar-30. It is therefore unlikely that the hospital will be fully operational in 2027 as envisaged.

There was no budgetary allocation for the Windhoek District Hospital (formally known as Khomas District Hospital) during the 2022/23 Financial Year.

According to this year’s developmental budget, nothing has been spent on this project until 2021/21. N$9-m was voted for the 2023/24 financial year, of which N$1.35-m was for feasibility studies, design and supervision, N$1.08-m for furniture and office equipment [sic] and N$6.57-m for construction. During that year, a perimeter fence was supposed to have been completed.

N$30-m has been voted for 2024/25, of which N$4.5-m is for feasibility studies, design and supervision and N$25.5-m for construction.

N$131-m is projected for 2025/26 and N$170-m the following year, bringing the total until 2026/27 amounts to N$340-m – far from the N$2.9-b project total supposed to be spent by 2027.

 

Procurement plan and perimeter fence

The health ministry’s 2024/25 procurement plan posted on the GRN e-Procurement platform does not even list the new Windhoek District Hospital under its Capital Works Subdivision and only mentions twelve other projects for which N$91.2-m is budgeted.

Fifteen offers were received when tender W/ONB/1304HO-29/2018 for the construction of security fencing for the Khomas District Hospital on Farm #1024 (a portion of the remainder of Farm #508, Havana, Windhoek) closed at the Ministry of Health & Social Services in Windhoek on 09-Sep-19, as reported in Tender Bulletin 1318:

  • I-Build Supplies = N$1,876,774.70
  • Ekodi Investment = N$1,955,400.20
  •  PT Puye Trading = N$2,055,738.85
  • Ace Civil Electrical Works = N$2,206,444.05
  • Divers Investment = N$2,358,846.65
  • Sumseno Contracting = N$2,378,525.10
  • Namibia Products Investment = N$2,500,510.55
  • Enyangandja Investment = N$2,811,377.25
  • Rico Investment Trading = N$2,833,619.55
  • Depoli Trading Enterprises = N$2,847,854.76
  • Namalwa Trading = N$2,960,971.13
  • Prestige Trading = N$3,052,654.30
  • Pama Properties = N$3,564,434.50
  • Muno Trading = N$4,516,087
  • ETN Technical Services / Alugodhi Construction & Renovations JV = N$17,883,808.76.

 

This was a re-issue of same tender that closed on 13-Dec-18 (25 bids from N$1.9-m to N$4.8-m were published in Tender Bulletin 1282).

The award of this tender was never announced and it is not known whether any of the N$6.5-m was spent on construction, as voted in 2023/24, according to the development budget.

 

Approved in 2023 after supposedly starting in 2014/15

The Windhoek Observer reported in 2023 that the cabinet had given the green light for the construction of the Windhoek District Hospital to ease the burden currently on the Windhoek Central and the Katutura State hospitals.

The MHSS, Finance & Public Enterprises and the National Planning Commission were directed last year to mobilise financial resources for the construction of the new hospital [after it had already been listed on the development budget since 2014/15].

MHSS Executive Director, Ben Nangombe, said at the time a multi-interministerial technical committee, comprising the MHSS, the MFPE, the Ministry of Urban & Rural Development and the National Policy Commission has been formed to oversee the expedition of the district hospital.

“We are in the process of finalising the feasibility study; these are formalities which must be undertaken, the project will go ahead and work is already underway”, said Nangombe.

The planned construction of the Khomas District Hospital was initiated in 2017 and was envisaged to be constructed in 2019, but construction was put on hold due to a lack of funds (Windhoek Observer 26-Jun-23).

 

The project’s history

The Tender Bulletin’s database of development projects traces the entire budgetary history of this project before 2024/25:

When project 13/04/2 for the Khomas District Hospital was first listed as new in 2014/15 under NPC code 18866, the aim was to purchase land and conduct a feasibility study for the construction a functional community hospital. The project total was then estimated at N$13.088-m, with N$7-m voted.

  • Activities for 2015/16 were described as “solve land issue first” then start with documentation, with the total escalating to N$125.5-m (N$58-m balance to completion) and N$3.5-m supposedly spent after the N$10.5-m voted was reduced midyear by N$7-m.
  • In 2016/17 the hospital was to be built in Samora Machel, with N$5-m voted for documentation, all of which was suspended midyear on the N$77.3-m total with N$46.775-m balance to completion.
  • In 2017/18, N$5-m was again voted for ‘documentation’, with no midyear revisions reported on the greatly reduced total of N$37.57-m and only N$8.17-m balance to completion.
  • In 2018/19 the project total was N$40.9-m with only N$900,000 balance, N$10-m voted reduced to N$3-m midyear, also for ‘documentation’.
  • The construction of the perimeter fence was supposed to take place in 2019/20 alongside feasibility study and documentation, when N$4-m was voted and no midyear revisions reported on the N$35-m total with only N$3-m balance.
  • The perimeter fence was still being built in 2020/21 still alongside a feasibility study, when another N$3-m was voted with no midyear revisions reported on the N$50-m total and no balance to completion.
  • In 2021/22 N$5-m was voted for retention on the perimeter fence, with no midyear revisions reported. The National Planning Commission stopped disclosing project totals that year, but reported N$3-m as having been spent until the previous year, leaving no balance to completion on the project still designated for Samora Machel.
  • The project was not listed on the development budget for the first time in 2022/23, reappearing the following year, when the N$3-m spent to date having disappeared (see above).

 

Rezoning 15ha land and environmental impact assessment incomplete

While the ground-breaking ceremony was scheduled for the public holiday on 09-May-24, interested persons still have until 07-Jun-24 to object to the rezoning of the land earmarked for the construction of the new Khomas District Hospital – after the ground-breaking ceremony has already taken place.

Notices to this effect were placed in New Era and The Namibian on 08-May-24 by Stubenrauch Planning Consultants, who were appointed by the MHSS and Burmeister & Partners.

The consultant called for objections to an application to obtain a formal Council Resolution from the City of Windhoek and to apply to the Urban & Regional Planning Board for rezoning of l5.14433ha Farm 1024 (a portion of Farm 508) from ‘undetermined’ to ‘institutional’ and an application for consent in terms of Table B of the Windhoek Zoning Scheme to operate an ‘institution’, which will enable the construction of the new Khomas District Hospital on Farm 1024.

Stubenrauch Planning Consultants can be contacted for inputs on telephone 061-251189 or email office3@spc.com.na. The plans can be inspected at SPC or the CoW Town Planning offices on the 5th floor. Written objections must reach SPC and the City of Windhoek CEO by 07-Jun-24.

A week after the groundbreaking ceremony, Burmeister & Partners called on interested and affected parties to register and attend a public information meeting as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment to obtain a clearance certificate for the construction of the Windhoek Class C District Hospital in the Havana Informal Settlement.

Acting on behalf of the MHSS and the Ministry of Works & Transport, the consultants appointed Red-Dune Consulting to conduct the EIA. The public meeting takes place on 29-May-24 from 10:00 to 13:00 at the Havana High School, while the deadline for submission of comments is 29-Jun-24.

Considering the ambitious timeline for the construction of the new hospital over the next three years, there have been no public tenders for the design and supervision of the hospital’s

construction – unless this has been done on a closed quotation basis.

 

 

 

Written by: Staff Writer

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