Namibia needs to address its health needs: Kamwi

25 Sep 2013 08:00
WINDHOEK, 25 SEP (NAMPA) - The Minister of Health and Social Services says Namibia needs to move with the times and address its needs in the health sector, as addressing these will put the country on a path of progress towards achieving better health outcomes.
Dr Richard Kamwi was speaking during the official opening of the seventh Annual Healthcare Conference in the capital on Wednesday, where he said Namibia does not need to reinvent the wheel, and should just learn from those who have already started addressing similar health issues.
“Our country is plagued with serious social and economic differentials which we are combating to the best of our ability,” he said.
According to Kamwi, the Namibian Government is making every effort to ensure that all its citizens have equal access to basic services, including health services. Geographical and financial access, however, remain a concern for Government, he said.
The two-day conference was organised by the Namibia Association of Medical Aid Funds (NAMAF).
It started Tuesday and was held under the theme ‘Is universal healthcare coverage an answer to healthcare delivery?’, a theme chosen because of the current challenges faced by the Namibian healthcare industry.
NAMAF was established in terms of the Medical Aid Funds Act 23 of 1995. The association controls, promotes, encourages and co-ordinates the establishment and functioning of medical aid funds in Namibia; and promotes accessible, affordable, sustained and quality healthcare for all. NAMAF also strives to be influential in policy-making decisions.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), universal health coverage ensures that everyone has access to quality health services without risking financial hardship because of paying for such services.
The Health Minister said the question Namibians need to ask themselves is “How do we provide quality access to health services with financial risk protection?”.
“This responsibility is a collective one. The Government has to regulate, promote and monitor, but we only have value for money if we establish partnerships with the population themselves, the private-not for profit and the private for profit as well,” he noted.
Kamwi further added that Namibia needs to find answers to its own problems, adding that it is not sustainable for Government to continue providing health care services to all from its coffers only. He said the Namibian Government therefore needs to partner with the communities and other stakeholders such as service providers, to be able to do it optimally.
“We need to look into not only the issue of financing, but also into sustainability of the financing and most importantly, the issue of quality of the care we provide,” he stressed.