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Phoenix Project

Why Namibia?

25 April 2014

Starting at 8 am the itinerary in the University of Namibia (UNAM) has been chock-a-block. I first met with the Dean of External Affairs, then it was off to the Faculty of Science to meet the Dean and representatives of Biochemistry, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science.  I was then whisked off to the Health Sciences Campus a few kilometres down the road where I met the Dean and Vice Deans.  After a well earned lunch, the Dean and representatives of the Humanities and Social Sciences turned up for a meeting. Today’s finale was a comprehensive campus tour.  All very full on.

My impressions so far?  Namibia has invested extensively in infrastructure, which is quite impressive. UNAM’s problem is a severe shortage of academic expertise: the problem is personnel. Cardiff University could certainly help with that.
What’s happening in UNAM?  It is very good to work with people who are working hard for themselves and UNAM is certainly doing that. Here are just a few (of very many) detailed examples of how we could help:

  1. There is a huge problem with the rural health care system.  There is no telemedicine.
  2. Getting Maths taught is a real problem.
  3. UNAM and Namibia in general are placing great store on saving local languages from extinction  and are asking how we have developed the Welsh Language.
  4. There are only 10 trained Anaesthetists for a population of 2.3 Million (we have 160 in Cardiff for a population of 300,000).  Many people die travelling the huge distances to get to a trained Anaesthetist.
  5. Music, the performing arts and modern foreign languages are taught and valued.
  6. There are almost no doctors with postgraduate training.
  7. There is a big emphasis on land, ecology, sustainable energy.

Just a few examples.  Just a bit to think about.  More meetings tomorrow, I will be investigating library services, touring rural areas (something I feel to be most important) and last, but far from least, meeting the Vice Chancellor.

Professor Judith Hall