Namibian pharmaceuticals most expensive in SADC

WINDHOEK: Minister of Health Dr. Bernhard Haufiku revealed this week that Namibia was paying the highest amount in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for drugs acquired for state patients.

Speaking at Keetmanshoop during his visit to the Karas Region, Haufiku said anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs) especially, was up to three times more expensive than the other southern African countries.

The reason he proffered for this is ‘the middlemen-problem’ in the tender system.

“It is due to tenderpreneurs who want to drive Range Rovers and live large putting huge mark-ups on the products,” he said.

Dismissing this is an unsustainable situation, Haufiku said his ministry will completely overhaul its processes to ensure that all tenders, including for cleaning materials and catering, are awarded equitably and cost-effectively.

‘It shouldn’t be highly-lucrative for some over a short period of time,’ he said.

He said other changes that will take place over time will be aimed at increasing efficiency.

To this effect, the Indian Government donated 1626 computers which will be used by the ministry to computerize patient information, Haufiku announced. The south Asian country will ensure the installation as well.

The aim, Haufiku said, is to do away with paperwork and the green patient passport.

Each hospital in the country will get 40 computers and eventually each patient will be issued with a card similar to the driver’s license card with all health information stored on a microchip.

Haufiku told staff to take care of the computers once it arrives.

‘I don’t want to hear anything about theft or that the computers are broken.’

He also advised staff to pay maximum attention to their work and to stop using cell phones while working.

Haufiku is on a week-long visit in the //Karas Region until Friday.

SOURCE: THE NIMIBIA PRESS AGENCY