MoHSS spends N$6 billion on curative care
The Total Health Expenditure (THE) for the period 2012/2013 stood at N$9 200, 965, 309, of which 69% (N$6 348 666 063) was spent on curative care.
According to the Namibia Forth Round National Health Accounts’ results launched by the Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku last week, just about two-thirds of government spending goes to remedial medical methods, with an approximately equal breakdown between in-patient and out-patient care.
Haufiku said it is of utmost importance that parameters like quality care, equitable access, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and the sustainability of domestic resources are viewed as critical because levels of out-of-pocket payments had increased from an insignificant 6.3% in 2008/2009 to 11% in the 2012/2013 budget year.
“One other concern regarding current healthcare financing in Namibia is the fact that Namibia has adopted the primary healthcare model, but a staggering 69% of our total health financing is spent on curative care and a 6% scramble for prevention services, even though prevention is said to be better than cure,” he noted, adding that the issue needs urgent attention.
Haufiku stressed that there is a dire need for financial models to ensure that healthcare services are financed by implementing approaches which will be engaging the private sector in public-private partnership (PPP) fashion, adding that the legal framework for this has been laid down already.
It is equally important that the commitment to meeting the Abuja Declaration within a reasonable timeframe becomes a reality, which is reaching the target of allocating 15% of government expenditure to health.
The health accounts furthermore indicate that the government was the largest source for health financing with 54%, followed by the private sector with 38%, and then donors with 8%.
Basically, all of the 99% was spent on recurring expenditure, and 1% on capital expenditure.
“Comparing our peers and neighbouring countries, we are not doing that bad as far as government spending on health is concerned.
Our total National Health Expenditure is N$4 294 per capita. This puts us in 3rd position in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), trailing only South Africa and Seychelles,” Haufiku noted.
As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), Namibia’s National Health Expenditure is also in the relatively high category, with 13% of the country’s total budget going to health.
It is thus higher than many of Namibia’s neighbouring countries, putting the country just 2% below the Abuja Declaration target.
Haufiku indicated that the MoHSS needs to revisit its priorities in resource allocation between communicable and non- communicable diseases, as Namibia is facing an epidemiological transition from communicable disease to non-communicable diseases.
“However, the current health expenditure on non- communicable diseases is only 5% 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 stressed.
Meanwhile, HIV/AIDS is said to remain a top contributor to morbidity in the country, and with 51% funding from donors and 37% from government, it remains heavily donor-financed.
Haufiku said although the majority HIV/AIDS financing comes from donors, these donors are transitioning their funding from Namibia.
“We should, therefore, consider strategies of mobilising domestic resources to fill the HIV funding gab by allocating more resources to HIV, and by integrating HIV services into other health services to increase efficiency,” he stated.
Namibia has made great progress in improving the health of all its citizens over the years, as indicated by a significant increase in resources allocated to the health sector over the past 13 years, increasing from N$2.2 billion in 2001/02 to N$9.2 billion in 2012/13.
Although this is the case, gains need to be sustained and further improved, Haufiku said.
“In order to achieve this, substantial financial resources from domestic sources are needed, but at the same time it is important that the resources available are managed to maximise effectiveness and efficiency,” the Minister continued.
by Donald Matthys