Health ministry to outsource cleaning of hospitals: Haufiku

WINDHOEK: The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku says his ministry is going to outsource the cleaning of hospitals completely.

Haufiku’s statement comes after several Members of Parliament (MP) raised concerns in the National Assembly (NA) on Friday, with how filthy the country’s hospitals and clinics are, particularly the Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek.

“Permanent Secretary of Health, Andrew Ndishishi is busy preparing a document for the invitation of expression of interest on cleaning services,” he said.

The minister warned that this process will not be easy, as the ministry will make sure that it sets high standards.

A similar process will be executed for catering and security services as well, Haufiku told the legislators.

The northern gate of the Windhoek Central Hospital, he noted, will also be cleared of various hawkers and vendors selling fruit and kapana, and will be moved to a different location.

“We are not going to chase people far away but we will accommodate them somewhere decent,” he said.

The top Government health official also informed MPs that the salary structures of the ministry’s staff members will soon be reviewed, together with all public service employees.

Haufiku, who is a medical doctor, said there is a need for the ministry to design attractive salary packages, especially for young professionals, so that they are willing to work in remote areas.

This, he said, could include a bush allowance, connection to the Internet, a telephone, proper accommodation and transportation to and from the remote areas.

“If we do not have these packages in place, we will not attract young professionals to work in some remote areas,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Haufiku also announced that the Katima Mulilo State Hospital in the Zambezi Region will be transformed into a regional hospital within this financial year.

Haufiku’s statement follows after MPs, such as the Minister of Justice Albert Kawana, complained about how the people of that region have to travel long distances to the Rundu State Hospital when transferred for particular treatment.

The minister said he was one of the doctors in the past to condemn the transfer of patients over a long distance.

“However, condemnation does not help; we need to do something. I made a statement at a Health Policy Conference in 2012 that every region should have a referral hospital, which is still my philosophy. I will not go on allowing the Katima Mulilo State Hospital to remain as is because it is just too risky for us. We need to make it a regional hospital,” Haufiku said.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services was earlier this year allocated one of the largest shares of the 2015/16 National Budget – N.dollars 6,49 billion.