Govt backtracks on health workers uniforms tender

03 Apr 2014 15:00

The Minister of Health and Social Services,
Dr Richard Kamwi says Government will go back to the drawing board to
find ways of providing uniforms to all health workers in the country.

Delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament on Wednesday, Kamwi
said this process will delay the acquiring of uniforms by the Ministry
of Health and Social Services by several months.

The Minister said since Independence in 1990, the normal practice has
been the inviting of tenders for the supply of uniforms for health
workers, bed linen, curtains, screens and other related materials.

He said these tenders were mainly confined to Namibian companies.
However, members of the public and some Members of Parliament have
expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of the fabric and the
workmanship of the uniforms.

Kamwi said on the part of the Ministry and the Tender Board of
Namibia, there have been serious concerns about local suppliers not
only in terms of meeting the deadlines for timely supply of uniforms
and bed linen, but also the quality of the uniforms, the design,
standard and textiles, as well as timely delivery of ordered materials
according to the tender specifications.

He noted that during the 2009 to 2011 tender, out of 63 items only 40
items could be awarded because most companies could not meet the
required specifications.

The Minister said two companies were considered. One specialised in
imports and exports as these uniforms were not made in Namibia; and
the other company did not have sufficient capital to import adequate
fabric for uniforms and as a result, this company could not supply the
ministry with uniforms for two years.

"The problems of procuring suitable uniforms and hospital materials
were difficult not only for the ministry, but also for the Tender
Board of Namibia," he stated.

Kamwi said as a result, the Tender Board of Namibia had to seek
technical and professional expertise.

The Minister said his ministry decided to take another approach to set
the standard and quality of fabrics to be used for various categories
for health workers because fabric standards are categorised depending
on the content of the materials used to produce the fabric such as
poly-cotton, cotton and polyester.

"I would like to state here that it was never the intention of the
ministry to import ready made uniforms from any part of the world,"
Kamwi said.

He indicated that it is the intention of the Ministry first and
foremost to provide suitable uniforms, curtains, bed linen, screens
and all uniforms and related materials which are of a standard which
is in line with the norms and standards set by the World Health
Organisation (WHO), and that would equally create a corporate identity
for the Ministry.

He noted that his Ministry intends to ensure quality and standards
through capacity-building and skills transfer, not only for the staff
of the Ministry, but also for all successful tenderers who shall
produce the uniforms locally.

He said the Ministry also intends to not only provide training and
skills transfer, but to ensure guidelines in terms of the design
through the provision of catalogues and availing of the required
fabrics because the production of the uniforms should be made
according to health guidelines and standards in order to prevent
transmission of infections and contamination of diseases.-(NAMPA)