We should talk about reproductive and sexual health: Haufiku

11 Aug 2015 16:20pm
RUNDU, 11 AUG (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Health and Social Services is planning to train more young people as community health workers.
These young people will be drawn from the National Youth Council (NYC) and/or the National Youth Service and trained for six months, said Health Minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku during a public consultative meeting held at the Rundu Town Hall last Friday.
The meeting was part of President Hage Geingob’s familiarisation tour of the north-eastern regions.
“The issue of community health workers is to curtail the problem of long distances that people travel from the places they live to clinics or hospitals,” he said.
Haufiku said he was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia two weeks ago and learned that they trained more than 35 000 community health workers last year alone.
Ethiopia has a bigger population than Namibia and is 87 per cent rural.
“This is where we got our example to train and employ young people and deploy them back into the community. They are from the community and understand the community they are from,” he said.
Haufiku said he believes young people will understand these issues better than anyone else and address the problem of health in the community, including vaccinations but more especially, educating the community on health matters.
The minister said he wants to focus on the issue of reproductive and sexual health.
“Apparently, these matters must never be discussed. We are doing a disservice to our young people and the community and ourselves if we do not talk about reproductive and sexual health,” he added.
Haufiku told a pact hall that teenage girls will continue to fall pregnant unplanned, which is why the country has a lot of cases of ‘backstreet’ abortions and even suicide.
There should be no school without a clinic to educate young adults, he said, adding that even Sunday schools should teach children the importance of cleaning their hands.
“So far we have trained more than 1 300 community health workers but we could not deploy them because they are not yet employed by the Public Service Commission as employees of the Ministry of Health,” the minister said.
He noted that at least 50 per cent of people who are looking for health care services should be serviced either in the community, clinic or the local health centre.
‘’Then the rest of the residents can progress to a district or intermediate hospital. We can then say that we are truly taking health services to the people,” Haufiku said.