13 March 2019

Namibia: Health Minister Explains Tea and Coffee Suspension

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(File photo).

Windhoek — Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday explained the partial suspension of serving of tea and coffee to patients in state hospitals, saying the exercise did not serve its intended purpose. "It was identified that the tea and coffee which are served at 10h00, 15h00 and 19h00 a day, which actually carried a significant financial cost, are not really used for the purposes they were intended for and therefore it should be suspended," he told lawmakers.

Shangula was responding to Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Member of Parliament Elma Dienda who wanted to know the motivation behind this drastic measure.

The ministry announced in an internal circular on Monday that it has decided to suspend serving tea and coffee at 10h00, 15h00 and 19h00 daily due to financial constraints.

Shangula says the ministry of health, just like any other ministry, is faced with financial challenges and it was thus necessary that financially prudent measures were taken.

"We had to review our systems to see if there are certain wastages. As a result, we tasked our dieticians to review the whole menu of patients and to see whether there will be a negative impact to the patience if this item were no longer served to them," he said.

He said it was found that there will be no negative impact to the patients if these changes were effected.

"I also want to assure the House that patients will continue receiving three meals a day. I would also like to assure the House that those specific patients who may require tea, coffee or juice as part of the treatment will continue to receive such," he said.

He added the savings realised from doing away with tea and coffee at these slots would be channeled to more needy areas of patient care.

"In short, [suspension] will continue. It has no time limit unless we are advised otherwise by the dieticians," he concluded.

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