Sharing knowledge to save lives in Namibia

23 October 2014

Saving lives in Nambia

Expertise provided by Cardiff University can save lives and make a difference in sub-Saharan Africa, says Namibia's Deputy Health and Social Services Minister.

The Hon. Petrina Haingura said her government had embraced the opportunity of working with the University as part of a project to transform communities in Namibia.

She said: "Due to a lack of transport for our mothers to come on time to the health facilities, our mothers are dying, and our children are dying there.

"We have facilities… but it does not help if you have nice facilities and there is nobody working at the facility.

"Hence we want you to help assist us in the training of doctors, nurses and pharmacists who can take our service further for us to reduce the incidence of these women and children dying."

The Hon. Deputy Minister is visiting Wales this week as part of a delegation from Namibia for the unveiling of Cardiff University's flagship community engagement projects at the Senedd on Tuesday.

One of the projects, The Phoenix Project, will work in Namibia in tandem with the Welsh Government's Wales for Africa programme.

It involves everything from training medical staff and boosting health communications, to strengthening local languages and increasing maths skills among students.

It will also contribute to delivering the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

The University has teamed up with the University of Namibia, which will play a vital role in the work.

The Hon. Deputy Minister, speaking at Cardiff University, said the government of Namibia had "embraced" the project and would help put the work into practice.

The projects will broadly cover three main issues: women, children and infectious diseases; communication; and science thinking.

Cardiff University students will also be able to take part, with the opportunity of placements in Namibia to benefit both their education and the project.

Professor Judith Hall, who is leading the project, said it was an attempt to make a difference at an international development level.

The Hon. Deputy Minister and a delegation from the University of Namibia are spending the week in Wales to help lay the foundations for The Phoenix Project.

A team from Cardiff University is visiting Namibia next week as plans are developed and put into action.

The University's other flagship engagement projects involve supporting the Cardiff city-region, connecting communities through hyperlocal websites, and building community engagement models to boost health, education and well-being.

A hyperlocal news day is being held at the National Assembly for Wales on Thursday in partnership with the University's Centre for Community Journalism.

It aims to bring hyperlocal and community journalists into the Assembly to enable them to report the work of the National Assembly that is relevant to their locality and audiences.