WINDHOEK — The Ministry of Health and Social Services introduced the National Surgical Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plan (NSOAP) in Windhoek on Thursday, marking a significant step in improving healthcare services in the country.
According to Namibian Press Agency, Kalumbi Shangula, the NSOAP is an initiative aimed at rectifying identified gaps and challenges in delivering safe and reliable surgical, obstetric, and anaesthesia services. This comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted and exacerbated existing vulnerabilities in healthcare systems.
The minister outlined that the NSOAP will focus on enhancing six key areas of the health system: infrastructure and equipment for surgical services, service delivery, workforce development, information management systems, financing, and governance of surgical systems.
Despite this progress, Shangula acknowledged the hurdles that remain. Factors such as demographic growth, dispersed rural communities, and competing public health demands continue to strain the delivery of equitable and quality emergency and surgical care services.
To combat these challenges, Shangula assured that the Health Ministry will dedicate the necessary resources, provided by both the ministry and its health partners, to support the NSOAP’s execution. He emphasized the ministry’s pledge to a systematic monitoring and evaluation approach, involving all relevant parties, to ensure the realization of universal health coverage across Namibia.
Further, Shangula introduced the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Action Plan and updated guidelines for IPC, with specific protocols for Operating Theatres and Central Sterile Services Departments (CSSD). The IPC Action Plan is set to tackle obstacles in curtailing healthcare-associated infections, a pressing concern for patient safety.
Shangula highlighted that the IPC Action Plan draws on the World Health Organisation’s IPC Assessment Framework, aiming to strengthen IPC knowledge among healthcare professionals, bolster surveillance and reporting of infection incidents, and enhance the oversight and assessment of IPC practices within healthcare institutions.
These initiatives represent a concerted effort by the Namibian government to fortify the healthcare system, improve patient outcomes, and move closer to achieving comprehensive health care for all its citizens.