WINDHOEK, 08 APR – The modus operandi at the Public Service Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS) needs to be addressed so equitable and affordable health services for the majority of Namibians can be realised.
This was said by Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku on Saturday during the commemoration of World Health Day.
In a statement delivered on his behalf, Haufiku said the allocation of N.dollars 3 billion through PSEMAS to 12.5 per cent of the Namibian populace perpetuates inequality.
“We will continue to advance inequality if we continue to allocate N.dollars 3 billion in public funds to less than 300 000 Namibians, of which only 124 000 make meagre financial contributions through monthly premiums averaging N.dollars 250 per member, while the rest of the population find it hard to pay for their medical care and treatment,” the minister said.
He added that the situation cannot continue whereby close to 70 per cent of the population depends on the N.dollars 6.5 billion allocated to the health ministry for health services, while a paltry 12 per cent benefit from a whopping N.dollars 3 billion through PSEMAS.
“It is time we change PSEMAS to make it more meaningful,” he said.
Haufiku further added that PSEMAS must be more realistic when charging its members.
“A minister or a director must pay more than a cleaner or a driver,” he said.
This is in a bid to achieve universal health coverage, the theme for this year’s World Health Day.
To further address inequality in the health sector, Haufiku pointed to the establishment of a national health fund, for which he said he believes a blueprint has already been given to the Social Security Commission.
“An independent fund, well-managed by professionals and accountable will go a long way in our quest for universal health coverage,” said Haufiku.
A national health fund would be the central health funding agency in Namibia, the minister explained.
“One strong, robust, well-resourced national medical fund catering for everyone in Namibia, working or not working, insured or not insured, rich or poor, old or young,” added the minister.
The minister was however quick to not that universal health coverage does not intend to destroy existing medical aid schemes or private hospitals.
“It will strengthen access to quality healthcare in Namibia and broaden its basis for the good of the population rather than only a few members of the society,” Haufiku explained.
World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 07 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organisation and other related organisations.
Saturday’s event was amongst others attended by acting Health Permanent Secretary, Petronella Masabane; Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua; United Nations resident coordinator, Kiki Gbeho and over 300 community members.