By Elezo Libanda
Katima Mulilo, 14 August- Despite winning the award for best service provider at the recent Africa Public Service Day in Katima Mulilo, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has been facing criticism on various fronts. Concerns raised by the public and healthcare personnel have shed light on potential challenges within the Ministry, ranging from infrastructure issues to resource shortages.
Reports have emerged about dilapidated buildings within the Ministry, a shortage of ambulances, and even a lack of uniforms for nurses, who are reportedly compelled to purchase their own attire. The situation has been further compounded by the cutting of overtime hours and the imposition of a strict 40-hour workweek for staff, despite the mounting demands on them, especially during emergencies.
The National Council Standing Committee on Public Health has conducted assessments across the country, revealing alarming issues within the Ministry. In the Kavango region, there are concerns of potentially wasted funds due to the disposal of medicines believed to have been spoiled due to poor ventilation. Similarly, the Zambezi region has raised questions about the expenditure of N$90,000.00 per trip for private ambulances to transport patients from Katima to Windhoek. Reports from Nkurenkuru highlight the deplorable state of a maternity building.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services holds the crucial responsibility of implementing policies and providing primary healthcare to Namibians. The Namibian healthcare system comprises various components, including intermediate and referral hospitals, clinics, health centers, and district hospitals. Each component plays a distinct role with specialized medical staff.
While the Ministry’s recognition as a service provider is commendable, the highlighted issues underscore the need for urgent attention and improvements to ensure the provision of quality healthcare services across Namibia. Addressing these challenges is vital for the well-being of both healthcare professionals and the general public.-Namibia Daily News