WINDHOEK: The Minister of Health, Dr Richard Kamwi says the N.dollars 4 billion allocated to the health sector in last year’s national budget is not sufficient to support the complete delivery of health services.
Speaking at a ministerial management meeting of the Ministry of Health and Social Services held here on Wednesday, Kamwi said for the sector to perform, it needs more money.
“N.dollars 4 billion is just a drop in the ocean, but we say thank you. Give us resources, and we will attend to the outcry of the people and that of the sector… I think we should go back to the National Planning Commission and plead for more funding,” he said.
The meeting was attended by under-secretaries, directors, deputy directors and regional directors in the health sector, as well as medical superintendents, chief medical officers and hospital managers.
It was held for the Health Ministry to set its priorities for the year, and to reflect on the experiences of the past year.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s representative to Namibia, Dr Magda Robalo reiterated Kamwi’s statement, saying the Namibian health sector needs more funding.
“We can do more with what we have, but what we have is not enough. Value for money can only be achieved from a certain threshold. Below that, it is inadequate investment,” she noted.
Robalo said reproductive and maternal health and preventative programmes are poorly-funded, and yet Namibians expect to see better results, adding that this is just not possible as the health sector needs more, better and targeted funding.
“If the sector’s infrastructures are dilapidated, it certainly means that our capital investment has been insufficient to renovate them, or to build new ones,” she added.
Another point the WHO representative tackled is multi-sectoriality, and inclusive health governance.
On these matters, Robalo said there is a need to address issues and socio-economic determinants of health, adding that working on symptoms alone is not good enough.
“Poverty, poor housing, poor sanitation and unemployment are real-life issues to be addressed. We need to tackle social ills that lead to teenage pregnancy, gender-based violence, alcohol abuse as well as transactional and trans-generational sex,” she stated.
The WHO representative went on to inform the delegates that more emphasis should also be placed on prevention, stating that prevention is the backbone of a good health system.
For this exercise, Robalo said, the health sector needs more public health administrators, public health experts, public health managers, public health-oriented policies and strategies based on primary health-care principles.
She also discussed the need for powerful, solid and strong smart partnerships in the health sector.
“These partnerships do not have to be many. They just need to be effective and helpful, based on mutual trust and respect,” she said.
The WHO representative said these partnerships can be formed with communities, civil society, the private sector and with bilateral and multilateral agencies and institutions.
“What we need is to learn from others, and innovate from inside to make it happen,” she continued.
Meanwhile, Kamwi indicated that his ministry is busy upgrading six hospitals, 18 clinics and four health centres under the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG).
The projects are being carried out with joint supervision by the Ministry of Works and Transport.