15 Jul 2015 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 15 JUL (NAMPA) - The Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku launched the Namibia 2012/13 National Health Account Report on Wednesday with a call for alternative financing models for healthcare services.
Health accounts are the process of measuring health spending and the flow of financing resources among the health sector. It provides information on the value of healthcare goods and services purchased, and the patterns in the financing, provision and consumption of healthcare resources.
Speaking at the event, Haufiku said resources allocated to the health sector increased from N.dollars 2.2 billion in 2001/02 to N.dollars 9.2 billion in 2012/13.
The challenge is now to ensure that the domestic financing sources are truly sustainable, equitable and do not place an excessive financial burden on the people, particularly the vulnerable and poor population, he stated.
Haufiku raised the concern that the levels of out-of-pocket payment has significantly increased from a nominal 6.3 per cent in 2008/09 to 11 per cent in 2012/13. This margin of increase is worrisome and clearly points to inefficient utilisation of available resources, which is unsustainable, he noted.
Another concern, he said, is that Namibia adopted a primary healthcare model but a staggering 69 per cent of the total health financing is spent on curative care while only six per cent is spend on prevention services.
Spending on reproductive health is also not giving the intended outcome. While 38 per cent of total health expenditure goes to reproductive health, unwanted teenage pregnancies with baby dumping is a common phenomenon across Namibia and more so in low-income groups.
Another area that the ministry needs to revisit is its priorities in resource allocation, especially the split between communicable and non-communicable diseases. Namibia is facing an epidemiological transition from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases, according to Haufiku.
However, the current health expenditure on non-communicable diseases is only five per cent of total health expenditure.
If not appropriately managed at this stage, the burden of non-communicable diseases may grow significantly and have an economic cost for the country, not only in terms of additional healthcare spending but also in terms of reduced economic productivity, he cautioned.
On HIV/AIDS, Haufiku warned that it remains a top contributor to morbidity in Namibia. However, the majority of financing for HIV/AIDS interventions is provided by donors that are currently transitioning their funding out of Namibia.
He suggested strategies of mobilising domestic resources to fill the HIV funding gap by allocating more resources to HIV and by integrating HIV services into other health services to increase efficiency.
The Health Ministry conducted the report with the support of the health finance and governance project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).