20 Jul 2015 14:30pm
WINDHOEK, 20 JUL (NAMPA) - Government spent about N.dollars 1.2 billion on HIV/AIDS which is about 13 per cent of the total health expenditure during 2012/2013. The total health expenditure in Namibia over the same period was N.dollars 9.2 billion, representing nine per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Speaking at the launch of the Namibia 2012/13 National Health Account Report last week, the Minister of Health and Social Services Bernhard Haufiku said HIV/AIDS remains a top contributor to morbidity in Namibia. However, he raised the concern that the majority of financing for HIV/AIDS interventions is provided by donors, which are currently transitioning their funding out of Namibia.
We should therefore consider strategies of mobilising domestic resources to fill the funding gap by allocating more resources to HIV and by integrating HIV services into other health services to increase efficiency, he noted.
The United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) spent about US dollars 57 million (about N.dollars 708 million), according to the report. Donors provided the majority of HIV funds (51 per cent) and 37 per cent comes from Government.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same occasion, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Namibia, Monir Islam noted that Namibia is one of the countries in the southern Africa region with the highest proportion of Government health spending. He commended Government for the move, noting that Namibia has remained stable at 54 per cent of total health expenditure between the years 2008 and 2013.
There are several reasons for this reduction, one of which is the upgrading of Namibia to a middle income country by the World Bank. This reduction causes a gap in resources and had thus been compensated by private sources of financing, including an increase in general household and specifically household out of pocket expenditure, he noted.
Islam further emphasised that nevertheless, this way of compensation does not constitute a sustainable long-term solution. Islam suggested that if Government seeks to provide affordable access to health care for all Namibians, reduce the burden of health care for all Namibians and to reduce the burden of health care costs on households; it is time to investigate alternative sources of financing to ensure sustainability.
Meanwhile, according to the report, approximately 46 per cent of HIV health spending was on care and treatment. About 16 per cent was on prevention, which included counselling and testing, distribution of condoms and information, education and communication. Of the data that could be allocated to a specific disease, prevention spending for HIV/AIDS appears to be greater than for other diseases, which has no doubt contributed to progress with the HIV response.
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.