15 Sep 2014 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 15 SEP (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) has recruited 20 new pharmacists from the government of Ethiopia to alleviate the critical shortage of pharmacists in the country.
The pharmacists arrived in Namibia two weeks ago and some have already been deployed to various regions. They will work in Namibia for two years.
Introducing some of the pharmacists at a media conference in the capital on Monday, Health Minister Richard Kamwi explained that the new pharmacists were recruited through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two countries health ministries, which included the recruitment of pharmacists from Ethiopia.
Kamwi noted that his ministry faces a number of challenges, one of them being shortage of personnel.
This, he said, hampers the delivery of quality health services, particularly to rural and remote areas, which rely solely on public health services.
There are currently only 55 pharmacists working in the Public Health Sector and of these, only 10 are Namibians.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that the pharmacist to population ratio for optimum pharmaceutical services should be one pharmacist for a population of 2 000.
Namibia, with its population of two million, needs about 1 000 pharmacists both in the public and private sectors to reach that ratio, Kamwi stated.
The current statistics imply that the country only has 18 per cent of the required number of pharmacists, which falls far short of the requirements.
For a lasting solution Namibia is currently working with the University of Namibias (Unam) School of Pharmacy to train pharmacists locally.
Kamwi indicated that the pharmacists were deployed to the Katutura Intermediate Hospital (two); Katutura Health Centre (one); the Namibian Medicines Regulatory Council (two) and the Intermediate Hospital at Rundu (one).
The remaining pharmacists were deployed to the Rundu Medical Stores (one); Central Medical Stores (two); National Health Training Centre (two); Katima Mulilo Hospital (one) and Walvis Bay State Hospital (one); National Medicines Policy Coordination (one); Tsandi State Hospital (one); Oshakati Intermediate Hospital (four); and Opuwo Hospital (one).
Health continues to be a key priority for the Government of Namibia. Pharmaceutical services and the availability of essential medicines dispatched to our patients by well-trained health workers is a key part of quality health care, the Health Minister stressed.