By UNDP Eritrea,
September 20, 2015 was a jubilant day for the community in Senafe as they witnessed the opening of Senafe hospital, a new fully equipped health facility that will enhance access to health care in the Debub region of Eritrea. The new facility was constructed and equipped with support from UNDP and the European Union as part of the recovery program.
The construction of the new facility was spearheaded by UNDP Eritrea during the period that UNDP was supporting recovery and rehabilitation programs in Eritrea after the 1998 -2000 border conflict with neighbouring Ethiopia. During the conflict, the old Senafe District hospital was completely destroyed; in its place, lies an open field surrounded by an old brick wall.
About 50 metres away, a massive white new facility stands, complete with; outpatient department, accident and emergency block, maternity block, imaging, laboratory, dental care, pharmacy, medical wards, operation theatre, staff changing rooms, doctors’ offices, incinerator, kitchen, laundry etc. The hospital is fully equipped with new furniture, drugs, modern equipment and accessories.
The facility was opened by the Minister for Health, Mrs. Amina Nurhussain. While delivering her speech, she said that the Senafe community had indeed overcome their adversity, since the old Senafe hospital had been looted [by Ethiopia] and the building reduced to rubbles.
“Until the completion of this hospital, the residents of Senafe and the surrounding community were getting health services from the makeshift health facility.” She said.
During the inauguration the Administrator of Debub, Mr. Efrem GebreKristos said that the hospital, which has 88 beds, will cater for about 85,000 people from Senafe and its surroundings. At the same time, he acknowledged that the facility has taken about 7 years to construct and cited technical difficulties such as access to resources and construction materials. However, he thanked the people of Senafe for their resilience and patience.
While addressing the gathering, UNDP Eritrea Resident Representative, Ms. Christine N Umutoni said, “I am happy that we are inaugurating this facility, its true what they say – patience pays.” She added that the recovery and rehabilitation programme used a comprehensive approach to reconstruction. “It would not have been appropriate to say that this community had full rehabilitation, resettlement and integration if there was no hospital.” She said. In addition she acknowledged good partnership with the Eritrean Government and the EU on the project.
“There is value for money as every dollar we spent on this project has been accounted for and every equipment is in its place.” She added.
The European Union Head of Delegation, Mr. Christian Manahl congratulated Senafe residents and commended the work by GoSE in providing access to health care.
“I hope that we will be able to continue contributing to development in Eritrea. In our new programme we have agreed with the Eritrean Government that the majority contribution from EU (EDF 11) will contribute to energy. We believe that even though energy is an indirect contribution to the health sector, a reliable energy supply is very important in running a modern hospital like the one we are opening today.” He said.
Ms. Lemlem Hagos from the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) thanked the development partners and especially the Government of the State of Eritrea (GOSE) for their commitment in ensuring access to health to Senafe residents. “This is such an excellent hospital, we are delighted to have such a great facility in Senafe.” She said.
Going forward, the Eritrean Government plans to continue with construction of phase 3 of the hospital.