Maternity ward in limbo

The long-awaited maternity facilities the at Onandjokwe state hospital are yet to materialise.

25 November 2019 | Health

Poor floor work has led to the halting of the N$59 million antenatal and postnatal maternity ward project at the Onandjokwe state hospital.

This was after a misunderstanding between the contractor and the consulting engineer over the floor work, which was done without steel reinforcement.

When contacted for comment, the contractor Amupolo Building Construction blamed the consulting engineer Steinbach Associates, who opted not to comment.

Amupolo Building Construction owner Erasmus Amupolo said they were already preparing the roofing when the work ministry's building inspectors approached them to inspect the work done, and ordered them to stop, as they were not happy with the floor work.

“We did the work according to the building plan that was presented to us by the consulting engineer. According to the plan we were not required to install steel reinforcement bars in the floor work. After completing the bricklaying, plastering and floor work, we invited the works' inspector to inspect the work we had done, before we do the roofing work, and they were not satisfied with the floor work and ordered us to stop,” Amupolo said.

“We did nothing wrong; everything was done according to the building plan that was presented to us. We are now waiting for the way forward from ministry of works, but it is a must that the floor work has to be redone and that is now going to be extra work; we do not know who will cater for it.”

When contacted for comment, Steinbach Associates refused to comment.

The ministry of works also did not respond to enquiries about the way forward.

Previously, acting Oshikoto health director Dr Helena Nkandi-Shiimi told Namibian Sun they were not happy with Amupolo after they were given two years to complete the work, but failed.

Government took over the hospital from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) in 2015 and Amupolo was appointed to construct a new maternity ward.

“After the government acquired the hospital, we wanted to improve the outpatient department and the maternity ward. As you know, baby deliveries are very high in the north and Onandjokwe is one of the oldest hospitals with a good reputation, and many want their babies delivered at Onandjokwe. We, therefore, wanted to have modern maternity facilities,” Nkandi-Shiimi said.

“The contractor was awarded a contract and was expected to finish the work by August last year. However, they could not finish the work and asked for a 12-month extension. As we are speaking, the extension lapsed last month and still they could not complete the work.”

ILENI NANDJATO

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