Progress with Universal Health Care under scrutiny

Nël Terblanché

The Executive Director in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe says every Namibian should have access to quality and affordable healthcare services without it causing severe financial hardship for the individual or their family.

Nangombe said this during the official opening of a consultative meeting between the Ministry’s officials and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Universal Health Care (UHC) in Swakopmund. According to him, such services should also include access to essential medicines, therapeutics, vaccines and technologies that are effective, safe and of good quality.

Nangombe said the country has made great strides in its efforts to provide all Namibians with access to quality health services.

He pointed out that Namibia is one of a few African countries that allocate at least 15 percent of its national budget to the health sector.

Officials from the Ministry have engaged the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Universal Health Care (UHC) to take stock of Namibia’s progress toward the development of policies and to obtain input on the priorities of the eventual implementation of UHC plans.

“We have made great strides in providing access to quality health and social welfare services to our people. The total government health expenditure exceeds the commitment by African Union member states to commit at least 15 percent of their budgets to the health sector,” Nangombe said.

He said that Namibia has one of highest health spending ratios in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and added that because of the national investment, most medical services can be provided to residents of Namibia at a nominal fee.

“In addition to providing free health care services, the government has built clinics and hospitals to bring services closer to the people,” Nangombe said.

He added that the training of healthcare workers has been scaled up and access to medicines is improving.

“These services will improve further with the modernisation of the physical infrastructure, operations and technologies at the central medical stores. While areas of progress are noted, we are fully cognizant of the challenges facing the ministry in delivering our important mandate,” Nangombe said.

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