Namibia Gets Ethiopian Pharmacists

NAMIBIA has recruited 21 pharmacists from Ethiopia to address the current shortage in the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

The Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi made the announcement at a press briefing in Windhoek yesterday, where he said the country needs about 1 000 pharmacists in the private and public sectors.

Kamwi said, currently, there are only 55 pharmacists in the public health sector and of these, only 10 are Namibians.

“As you are all aware, the Ministry of Health and Social Services is faced with a number of challenges, one of them being shortage of personnel. This hampers the delivery of quality health services particularly to rural and remote areas, which solely rely on public health services,” he said.

Kamwi said for optimum pharmaceutical services, the World Health Organisation recommends the pharmacist to population ratio of one for every 2 000 people.

“Therefore, with our population of two million, we need about 1 000 pharmacists in both the public and private sectors to reach that ratio,” he said.

Kamwi emphasised that the current statistics imply that the country only has 18% of the required number, which falls far too short of the requirements.

Applauding the Ethiopians, Kamwi said they are an addition to other pharmacists contracted from other countries. He further urged them to demonstrate their skills to their best ability.

“However, for a lasting solution, we are currently working with the University of Namibia School of Pharmacy to train Namibian pharmacists locally,” Kamwi said, adding that the first intake is currently in third year.

Meanwhile, last week The Namibian reported that about 11 Namibians studying medicine in China face deportation if the government does not come to their rescue by the end of September.

The students are all at the Liaoning Medical University. They said although they went to China on their own, they did so for the benefit of the country because it is experiencing a shortage of health workers. They funded their studies for the first year hoping to receive government funding from their second year.

However, the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) refused to assist them because of the fund’s new resolution which states that it will only pay for students who have 35 points and above.

The students feel that the resolution is not fair as they had applied for their loans before the resolution, the fund’s secretary and manager of corporate communications Fillemon Wise Immanuel said the decision not to pay for students with less than 35 points studying abroad only applies to those who went after the decision was taken and published.

“NSFAF will continue to pay for Namibian students in China and elsewhere who had secured Financial Assistance from the Fund prior to the 2013 decision,” Immanuel said.

He said comparatively, as far as medicine is concerned, 35 points remain the requirement by the Unam School of Medicine for one to secure admission into the school. “Hence, there is nothing wrong with bench-marking our own designssystems.”

Source : The Namibian

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