Universal health care possible – Venaani
As he tabled a motion on universal health care this week, official opposition leader McHenry Venaani claimed that only 18% of Namibians had regular access to private health services.
The President of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) said it is incumbent on lawmakers to advocate tirelessly for equitable provision of quality health care to all Namibians.
“It is possible and can be achieved – to ensure that all Namibians, regardless of income level, lead socially and economically productive lives,” he said.
He said a key principle in this regard is service according to need and payment according to means.
“We cannot afford to have a situation where a poor mother from informal settlements with a sick son who suffers from a tumor is turned away by a private hospital due to lack of funds to pay for such an operation to keep her son desire. Venaani said.
He said universal health care (UHC) means there is a health care system that provides coverage to at least 90% of citizens, which is desperately needed, especially at a time when families are suffering from increased massive scale of poverty that preceded Covid-19. pandemic.
“Universal health care coverage will promote people’s equitable access to health services while preventing them from falling into poverty when they have to pay for these services. It will also ease the burden on our public facilities by giving poor Namibians the assurance that they can be treated at a facility of their choice, whether public or private,” Venaani said.
He gave examples of countries such as Australia, Barbados, UK and many others that have successfully implemented UHC coverage.
“Thailand, with per capita health spending nearly half that of Namibia ($385 compared to $619 in Namibia), achieved universal coverage in 2010. In Africa, Rwanda, for example, a country with a per capita income of just US$644 (as opposed to Namibia’s US$4,328), achieved near universal coverage in eight years, using a modified version of social health insurance,” Venaani said.
During the recent launch of the National Quality Management Policy and other documents last month, Minister of Health Dr Kalumbi Shangula said the value of UHC depends on its ability to deliver safe services , effective and of good quality to everyone, wherever needed.
“The policy will therefore pursue the following dimensions of quality, accessibility, affordability, effectiveness, efficiency, safety, attention to people, speed, equity and integrated health services,” Shangula said.
He said high-level strategies to implement this policy will include improving quality management systems; engage and empower patients, families and communities; improving the safety of patients and healthcare workers; and improving clinical practice.
Shangula added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has once again highlighted that high quality essential health services are vital for the health security of the country. The renewed focus on quality health services will enable Namibia to respond effectively to this crisis, recover from it and be better prepared for future public health threats and events.