Haufiku Warns Against Self-Enrichment

SELF-ENRICHMENT by workers in the ministry of health will soon be a thing of the past, health minister Bernard Haufiku said yesterday.

Addressing Khomas region health workers in Windhoek for the first time since his appointment in March, Haufiku touched on a number of things bedevilling the ministry.

One of the things he spoke about is his uncompromising stance regarding hygiene in all health facilities. He said cleaning services will be outsourced and cleaners employed by the government will be transferred to the companies that will get tenders to clean hospitals. Such a tender will be aertised, he said, adding that “it does not have to be that of the permanent secretary but to the company which can deliver”.

He also said the shortage of medicines was still haunting the ministry but this would be attended to.

“The problem of procurement is a problem in the ministry and this will be sorted out. What I saw happening is unacceptable. Tenders will soon be out to the public for companies to compete to provide medicine,” he said.

Haufiku, who has been travelling throughout Namibia to familiarise himself with the situation on the ground, said most hospitals in the regions are experiencing similar problems.

“Most of them do not have enough doctors, nurses and pharmacists,” pointing out that the Okongo and Onandjokwe hospitals are far too stretched at pharmaceutical services.

This year, 27 pharmacists graduated from the University of Namibia, something the minister said was a step in the right direction. Last year, 21 pharmacists were also brought in from Ethiopia to stem the shortage.

In 2014, former health minister Richard Kamwi announced that the country needs 1 000 pharmacists in the private and public sectors but there were only 55 pharmacists in the public health sector and of these, only 10 were Namibians.

The World Health Organisation recommends a pharmacist to population ratio of one for every 2 000 people. Haufiku said: “I am not here to instruct you or teach you anything, but to listen, absorb issues and see how best we can address these problems collectively”.

He pledged that the transfer of patients from district hospitals will come to an end.

“The solution will be to strengthen district hospitals. No appendix cases must be transferred to Windhoek hospitals,” he said.

“Every region should have a regional hospital. As doctors we also need to go to regions to relieve the pressure from Windhoek. Six to seven young doctors will join me to operate on patients in Opuwo,” he said.

Haufiku aised health workers to have the right attitude towards their duties and co-workers. “We need to have the right character, work and professional ethics. Problems will always be there but its how we navigate through them.”

He also took note that there is not enough accommodation for ministry staff.

Source : The Namibian