WINDHOEK, 17 APR – At the back of a financially challenging 2017, coupled with a 10 per cent budget cut – the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) will deploy prudent financial principles to ensure that every cent is used to the benefit of the patient.
This is according to acting MoHSS Permanent Secretary, Petronella Masabane in an interview with Nampa recently.
“Trim the fat. Every cent, every dollar must go to the treatment, must go to the care and must go to the social well-being of the people. The challenges created that consciousness in us. Before spending that dollar, you know that this dollar can buy medicine,” said Masabane, explaining that the ministry has drawn great lessons from its shortcomings in 2017.
Another measure to cope with limited resources is for employees of the ministry to share tasks, instead of employing a new employee for each activity.
“We have to see how we can pull our energy, our skill and be more focused. Get rid of all the excesses and mostly not to waste whatever we have,” she said.
The shortage of funds remains the ministry’s biggest challenge, having been dealt a further blow with the 2018/19 financial year (FY) budgetary allocation.
The ministry received N.dollars 6.5 billion from Treasury, a 10 per cent decrease from the previous FY, with Masabane saying the year will be tougher for the ministry.
“But I am sure that with the goodwill of the government, our leaders, we will manage to continue delivering the services that our people need.”
Meanwhile, the ministry has faced criticism for its percieved reluctance to roll out pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs, which can help prevent HIV infection in people who do not have the virus, but are at high risk of becoming infected.
To this, Masabane acknowledged that more needs to be done to create awareness around PrEP, but denied any form of reluctance from the ministry in terms of its roll-out.
“I think we have not done enough public education about the availability of PrEP and where people can access it. We will improve on that, but we are not reluctant,” she said.