The Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness Philip Makgalemele says the Ghanzi District Health Team (DHMT) has as of October 25, 2016, started monthly outreach visits to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).
The health services provided during the mobile stop consultation of general patients, according to Makgalemele, include child welfare services like weighing and vaccination of the under-fives, ante-natal care, family planning, food rationing and health talks. As for referrals, the assistant minister said they would be made depending on the condition presented.
Makgalemele was answering a question from Ghanzi North Member of Parliament Noah Salakae in parliament last week after he asked what health services were provided to people residing in the CKGR.
Rising on supplementary question, Francistwon South Member of Parliament Wynter Mmolotsi asked the assistant minister how the ministry had been assisting the residents if it was only now that the health services are taken to them. “I can only answer for the time that we started to assist, which is on the 25th October 2016,” Makgalemele stated, before attracting further enquiry from Mmolotsi: “Minister, do you mean your ministry has not been aware of how the people have been assisted prior to your recent services. Do you mean prior to that you don’t know and you don’t care?” he asked.
“We certainly do care as a government. The member of parliament (referring to Mmolotsi) knows the background and some of the dynamics surrounding this issue, but the bottom line is that we have now started providing the services,” answered Makgalemele before Mmolotsi quipped that, to the contrary, he was unaware of the background of the issue.
Queries over the provision of amenities to CKGR including provision of healthcare resulted in a marathon court battle that dragged for years between residents and government, attracting the attention of local and international human rights activists.
Government had wanted the residents to relocate from CKGR to New Xade, a move which residents resisted, leading to government cutting off basic and essential services like water.