Health

Ninety per cent dependent on public healthcare

Summary

A staggering 90 per cent of the population depend on public health facilities for their medical needs in Namibia, a figure buttressing the government’s position as the main healthcare provider in the country.The figure was revealed by health minister K…

A staggering 90 per cent of the population depend on public health facilities for their medical needs in Namibia, a figure buttressing the government’s position as the main healthcare provider in the country.

The figure was revealed by health minister Kalumbi Shangula on Friday, during the official handover of a containerised clinic at Otjinungua, in Kunene’s extreme north.

The statement was delivered on the minister’s behalf.

The government executes this through its 30 district hospitals, 43 health centres, 279 clinics and other outreach programmes countrywide.

“Despite challenges, our public healthcare system, upon which 90 per cent of the population relies, continues to cater for the health needs of communities,” Shangula said.

He said the ministry will continue to engage with other government offices, ministries and agencies as part of the One-Health Approach, thereby providing “equitable, accessible and reliable health services for our people in all parts of the country”.

In the furtherance of this, the government is constructing new clinics in different regions to bring services closer to some of the underserved communities, Shangula said.

According to the minister, support for the training of medical professionals in different disciplines, with a view to strengthening the human resources component of the health system, cannot be overemphasised.

“In the past two years, the ministry has recruited more than 1 300 health professionals who have been deployed in different parts of the country,” he said.

Of this figure, 32 nurses will be deployed in Kunene, once the process of registration with the Health Professions Councils of Namibia is completed.

“They will be deployed at facilities such as Otjiu, Onjuva, Etanga, here at Otjinunga, and others. This is to alleviate the burden at clinics which are staffed by a single nurse currently,” said the minister.

With the advent of COVID-19 being fresh in recent memory, Shangula said Namibians cannot put their guard down.

This is exacerbated by a plethora of other challenges Namibia is prone to, ranging from drought, malnutrition, maternal mortality, scabies and other developmental, and socio-economic issues.

“They all require interventions and action from Government and in these interventions and actions, we welcome the support of the private sector and other stakeholders,” he added.

Two weeks ago, Shangula presented the N.dollars 8 billion health budget in the National Assembly.

He vowed to account for each penny: “We will ensure that the resources allocated to the ministry are utilised for the intended purposes.”

A fortnight ago, Official Opposition leader, McHenry Venaani poked holes in the government’s budget allocation for the health sector.

Venaani also took issue with the state of public healthcare, saying in the absence of universal healthcare, Namibia’s public health sector is divided into two: one for the poor and another for the elite.

“It cannot be right that through PSEMAS (Public Servants Medical Aid Scheme), you spend N.dollars 3 billion for less than 18 per cent while you spend N.dollars 1.5 billion for the rest of the populace [82 per cent],” he said during the his ‘Real State of the Nation Address’.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency