Ministry planning to expand Health Extension Workers’ programme to reach a national coverage

WINDHOEK: The Ministry of Health and Social Services is planning to expand the Health Extension Workers’ programme in the next two to three years to reach a national coverage.

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Richard Kamwi announced this yesterday when he escorted Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-Taek on a tour to the Katutura Intermediate Hospital’s antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinic and Windhoek Central Hospital’s Maternity Ward.

Yoo is accompanying her husband, United Nations’ Secretary-General (SG) Ban Ki-moon, to Namibia on a two-day visit.

Kamwi said regarding community-based healthcare, the country is working hard to bridge the gap between health facilities and communities by modelling the Health Extension Workers’ programme which is now functioning in five regions.

He informed his guest that all health prevention services in the country are free of charge with high ante-natal care (ANC) coverage of 95 per cent, institutional delivery rate of 81 per cent and immunisation coverage for children under one year old rated at 83 per cent.

Kamwi said Namibia brought down the number of malaria deaths from around 7 000 in 1990 to only four deaths in 2012.

He added that the country also reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV rates from 33 per cent in the 2002/03 financial year to four per cent in 2012/13.