Khwai community builds own clinic

Francinah Baaitse Mmana

Khwai Development Trust is planning to convert its offices to a village clinic, North West District Council Chairperson and area councillor, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho, has said.

Speaking in an interview with Okavango Voice this week, Ntsogotho explained that they are only waiting for endorsement from Ngami District Health Management Team (DHMT) to start the transformation process.

“The DHMT coordinator has already visited the facility, so we are only waiting for her report,” Ntsogotho pointed out.

Ntsogotho said they are hoping Dr Malebogo Kebabonye will approve the facility so that the population of Khwai could start to have access to medication and health care in their own village.

“It would save villagers travel to Maun for health care,” stated Ntsogotho whose other concern was for the expected new government workers to be relocated from different areas to Khwai next year to find, not only the clinic but the primary school open.

Khwai primary school, a seven stream school, which was donated to the community by Okavango Air Rescue in 2014/2015, will open class for the first time next year following the completion of the teacher’s houses. The teachers’ houses have been holding up the reopening of the school for almost four years.

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“We Basarwa people are used to the bush lifestyle and home remedies for small ailments, but teachers who will be coming from other areas, who maybe used to town life may find it difficult to survive under the harsh conditions in the wilderness,” Ntsogotho said before adding that, “When a Mosarwa gets a headache, they simply sit it out in the sun before returning to the shadow and in no time, the headache will be gone, but some people are used to fixing such with pain painkillers. So in the absence of a health facility, they may not survive some conditions.”

Khwai is a small settlement, which was officially recognized as such in 2018, and it has roughly around 500 people, according to Ntsogotho.

The last population census, which was done ten years ago counted the village’s population to be around 300 people.

Khwai people get resources and basic necessities from the neighbouring Maun town, which is about 123 kilometres away.
It is located in the northern side of Khwai River, which forms the north boundary of Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta and the village’s younger children attend primary school some 210 kilometres away in a boarding school in Kareng.

“Having a clinic in Khwai will not only save lives but will save us costs as a Trust. A huge chunk of our annual budget goes into repairing and servicing our vehicles, which are always on the road, rushing our people to get health care from Mababe, Sankoyo or Maun. This means the drivers also claim overtime allowances and this is seriously eating into the Trust’s funds,” explained the Trust’s chairperson, Jonah Amos.

Amos also explained that people enrolled on anti retroviral drugs and blood pressure medications get their refill from neighbouring settlements more than 35 kilometres away from Khwai and this means they have to be transported there by the Trust.

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“We have already done half the job for the government. The structure is ready for refurbishment,” Amos said

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