Nangombe calls for practicality in healthcare sector

23 November 2021 | Health

ESTER KAMATI



WINDHOEK

Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe last week urged stakeholders not to let down the people who have entrusted them with delivering healthcare services.

He said this in his opening statement at a weeklong review of the health ministry’s systems.

The review is long overdue, Nangombe said.

“If the last review was in 2018, can we claim that we have sufficient data to help us plan effectively? I don’t think so,” he said.

The ministry’s existing strategic plan is set to terminate in March 2022.

Poor return on investment

Nangombe said the ministry, which receives one of the highest budgetary allocations, needs to improve its delivery to match the resources provided.

“Why is it that we are spending upwards of 15% of the national budget on the health sector but the results that we are getting are far behind other countries at the same level? Where are we getting it wrong?”

He highlighted a consistent shortage of medication and medical equipment as some of the issues that need to be addressed, adding that the ministry was not making the needed impact on communities.

Be practical

“Those are the things that matter because those are the things that are felt by people on a day-to-day basis.

“The provision of public healthcare services in this country rests on your shoulders; nobody else’s. If we get it wrong at this level, then everything would possibly crumble,” he told the delegates.

“It is here where we must make policy recommendations. It is here where we must provide the necessary guidance of what it is that needs to be done to provide healthcare services that impact the person in Opuwo or in Maltahöhe. And we dare not betray the trust bestowed upon us.

“These are the practical realities that need to occupy our minds as we talk about reviewing the health systems. We cannot be abstract, we cannot be theoretical, because at the end of the day, it’s about people,” he said.

Nangombe added that development partners who have worked in other countries are assets in strengthening Namibia’s healthcare system, and encouraged the delegation not to shy away from learning from others.

He said the review exercise would be fruitless if the challenges are not called out frankly and solutions recommended.

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