Good on health and education

30 September 2019 | Opinion

It is not often that we can sing the praises of our ministries but, when it is due, it must be given. We applaud both the education and health ministries who last week announced that around 5 700 vacant positions will be filled. Roughly 4 000 for health and 1 700 for education.

Both these ministries are critical institutions in our country and good publicity for both, has become rare. In these economic times, coupled with the current devastating drought, 5 700 jobs is nothing to be scoffed at.

According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, the dependency ratio per wage earner is around 4.6. Thus, roughly 26 220 individuals will be better off.

This, of course, excluding the countless patients that enter our state facilities and of course, our children who need a good education to be able to take Namibia forward.

To its credit, the health ministry has taken it one step forward by putting in place a number of alternative mechanisms to support health facilities struggling with lack of human resources.

These include agreements between the ministry and several private hospitals; the national medical outreach initiative, which mobilises both public health professionals and private doctors for medical missions to different public facilities; and support from international medical volunteers.

Under these agreements, private doctors support public health institutions, including the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital, and various district hospitals. The deployment of private doctors has helped strengthen the available professional skills in surgical procedures, anaesthesiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, as well as neonatal care.

Our schools are struggling, many without adequate infrastructure with children sitting on floors without the basics, including text books, while others have to attend a full school day in the afternoon with schools being too small and/or understaffed to teach everyone. This is utterly unsustainable and by filling these vacant positions, it will at least alleviate either a lack of space at a school due to limited capacity or, the alleviation of the burden on teachers giving lessons in subjects they are not au fait.