Health Gets Tough With Low-Grade Contractors

The Ministry of Health and Social Services will soon start outsourcing cleaning services at all state health facilities but the allocations will be based on merit.

There has been an outcry among taxpayers that some contractors receive tenders despite delivering shoddy, sub-standard work.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, warned Namibian cleaning companies they will not receive special treatment when it comes to the awarding of cleaning tenders.

Government has over the years burned its fingers after giving preferential treatment to local companies when it came to dishing out state contracts. Many of the local companies however lacked capacity and often failed to abide by prescribed tender specifications.

“We will start outsourcing cleaning services at health centres. The permanent secretary is already busy preparing the relevant documents. We will set tough standards and will not have sympathy towards Namibian companies,” said Haufiku when he made the announcement last week in the National Assembly.

He said outsourcing of cleaning services is one of the measures aimed at ensuring cleanliness at all public hospitals where cleanliness has deteriorated .

“Our (state) hospitals must not be different to Rhino Park [private hospital], for example. We want proper services,” said the minister.

Haufiku also lashed out at local contractors that received tenders to construct health facilities but failed to deliver on time, citing the Okahao District Hospital that has still to be completed five years after construction started.

He was not happy that the ministry continues to make use of contractors who in the past failed to deliver.

“Why are we keeping non-performing entities on our list? We must remove such companies from our list,” he warned.

With many health workers decrying the remuneration packages within the health sector, Haufiku said the ministry was busy revising the ministry’s salary structure.

The government has over the years lost many good nurses who sought greener pastures in the private sector.

The public have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the state of the country’s health sector, a situation which has seen mainly the poor making use of state health facilities.

“All of you [politicians] go to private hospitals, you only go to Katutura if you want to come score points here [parliament],” Haufiku told MPs.

Source : New Era