Namibianised Health Status for Angolans

NICKEY Iyambo, Namibia’s first health minister, has suggested that government considers granting Angolan nationals the same status as Namibians in terms of accessing State health care.

Veterans’ affairs minister made these remarks during the debate on the Health Bill which was tabled by health minister Richard Kamwi in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Iyambo who also lashed out picky veterans whom he said are demanding private health care ahead of State care, suggested that a clause be inserted into the Health Bill to make it compulsory for private health centres to attend to emergency patients who do not have money.

He said Angolan patients should be given the same status as Namibians at State hospitals considering “what Angolans went through because of us”.

Angolan patients are classified as private patients and the new Health Bill states that a non-Namibia patient may only be classified as a State patient with written approval of the permanent secretary.

“Lets us treat Angolans, considering that we also lived in Angola and enjoyed their best medial facilities,” he said.

The decisions to grant Angolans the same status as Namibians did not sit well with Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) Member of Parliament Peter Naholo who questioned whether it would be affordable.

“Yes, I know we lived in Angola, we were assisted by Angolans while we were there as freedom fighters but I am afraid the honourable minister is making a dangerous proposal to allow Angolans to be treated as Namibians,” he said adding that he was basing his comments on the fact that Angola’s population is about 20 million.

Iyambo responded that the beneficiaries of the arrangement could exclusively be Angolan State patients, especially those in the southern provinces of the country.

Iyambo also proposed that a clause be inserted in the just tabled bill in order to compel private hospitals to attend to patients in cases of emergency to avoid transferring patients from one centre to another due to a lack of funds.

The veterans minister gave an example of people injured in a car accident that happens in town and are taken to the nearest health facility but are turned away.

“People look at you and say, please take the patient back to the ambulance, take him or her to Katutura Hospital. To me that is criminal, medical crime and it happens here,” he said.

The new bill has a section on payment for transport in emergency cases but it does not include private health centres.

“At least in the case of emergency, our private hospitals must treat the patient, stabilise their condition and then the patient can be sent to another institution but that bill will be paid by the State. It will save lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iyambo also had aice for the veterans.

He said the Veterans Act states that people who have veterans’ status can be treated at State hospitals free but they can be taken at a private hospital if they have other medical conditions that cannot be treated at State hospitals, provided the health personnel informs the ministry of veterans about that condition.

He however complained that the veterans were becoming too demanding.

“People are demanding, they claim they are not treated well, nurses are rude, doctors don’t come. It has created a problem as if we are going to create facilities only for veterans,” he said.

“My veterans should understand that yes we are willing to have them treated in private hospitals but provided its done professionally. And that doctors should not be put under pressure,” he said.

Source : The Namibian