7 November 2018

Namibia: Nangombe Reflects On Health Challenges

DESPITE having limited financial and human resources, the health ministry has the mammoth task of ensuring that Namibians enjoy the highest quality healthcare possible, permanent secretary Ben Nangombe says.

He said this in response to questions by Nampa on the sidelines of the joint meeting of Southern African Development Community health ministers in Windhoek on Monday.

"Finances are a problem. We are challenged (but) we are happy that (during) the mid-term budget review, the ministry was allocated some resources, which will go towards recruiting professionals," Nangombe stated.

Furthermore, the ministry is expected to get additional funds transferred from its capital projects, also to recruit professionals.

"What we need to know is that it is not all about money. It is really about how we maximise the utilisation, and in how we make sure that what we have, we maximise the use thereof to achieve the results that we want." For the 2018/19 financial year, the ministry received N$6,5 billion from treasury, a 10% decrease from the preceding year.

However, during the mid-year budget review, this figure was revised upwards by N$175 million for the purchase of pharmaceuticals and for personnel expenditure.

As for human capacity, Nangombe said the ministry needs to train nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners.

"If our human resources are not where we need them, we will not be able to provide healthcare," he added.

To this end, about 230 medical graduates (doctors) are expected to join the public health sector as interns, and the ministry is upgrading its facilities to accommodate them.

"So that we train them and equip them with the necessary skills, and can deploy them to the areas where they are needed," he noted.

To achieve its mandate, the ministry has prioritised taking good care of its existing infrastructure and equipment, the PS added.

The ministry is currently in the process of procuring equipment, such as anaesthetic machines and X-ray machines. "If we do not have the necessary equipment, our doctors will not be able to carry out certain functions."

- Nampa

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