THE crippling shortages of vital medicines in the country’s state hospitals and primary health care facilities will soon be a thing of the past as the ministry of health has increased its medicinal inventory by up to 70%.
This was revealed by the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula today during an interview on the health state of affairs on Informanté Radio’s breakfast show, the Morning Mix.
Addressing the recent shortage of medicine experienced in public hospitals and clinics, Dr. Shangula stated that government has cut out suppliers and contractors from procuring medicine for the state’s Central Medical Store and now directly procures medicine from manufacturers.
Cutting out middlemen, he said, significantly reduces costs and delivery time.
Dr. Shangula added that currently, all hospitals and primary health care facilities do not face a shortage in medicines as the ministry of health has increased its medicine inventory by up to 70% through its new procurement methods.
He also used the opportunity to once again assure the nation that there is currently no case of the Coronavirus in Namibia, and that China is trying its best to contain the spread of the infection at the source.
He, however, stated that the likelihood for the spread of the virus to Namibia exists and that all entry points of the country have as a result been capacitated with officials that will monitor foreign arrivals and isolate any potential case.
Dr. Shangula stated that the virus has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days before it shows symptoms, which include fever, difficulty in breathing, sneezing and general body weakness.
He added that those steps have been taken to capacitate the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) to be able to conduct confirmatory tests of suspected Coronavirus cases.
“Conducting these tests locally will tremendously strengthen our response to be able to treat and manage patients timeously,” Dr. Shangula stated.
Touching on the shortage of health officials such as doctors and nurses in public hospitals, the minister stated that the ministry in December 2019 got the approval to fill a total of 4,000 new positions within all professions in health, including, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and specialists.
Dr. Shangula stated that 135 registered nurses have already been recruited in January 2020.
In conclusion, the minister chastised that albeit these successes, the provision of health facilities in northern areas remain a challenge, as he stated that Onandjokwe maternity ward, the Rundu maternity ward and primary healthcare facilities in Nkurenkuru in the Kavango West region remain uncompleted as contractors have abandoned the construction sites.