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Minister Wants Private Wards in State Hospitals
Source: Africa News
Source Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Focus: Citizens’ Service Delivery
Country: Namibia
Created: Nov 18, 2010

Kamwi said President Hifikepunye Pohamba envisioned private wards for all State hospitals in Namibia during the opening of the Oshakati State Hospital earlier this month.
“Our president was very impressed with the private wards there, and said he would like to see all State hospitals with private wards. I am now redirecting his directive to me, and asking health directorates in all the regions to hand in budget proposals for private wards for the next financial year. I would like to inaugurate these wards by 2012,” Kamwi said.
He asked why State hospitals did not have private wards, while most private clinics and consulting rooms were owned by expatriates using work permits issued by his ministry, and “conniving with locals to go on with the lucrative business”.
“They are using government medical aid to enrich themselves. Civil servants go to the private doctors and the same doctors go and consult them in the State hospitals. Civil servants’ medical aid end up paying private doctors’ bills. The time has come for this to change,” he said.
According to the minister private wards in state hospitals will contribute to revenue needed for the continual upgrade of facilities and quality services.
“Those that can afford it, let them have their private rooms where they can touch a button to turn on the TV and lights and call the nurse for assistance. But let it be from the comfort of a private room in a State hospital,” Kamwi said.
He was also frank about expatriate doctors managing Namibian hospitals. In Erongo, all four State hospitals are managed by non-Namibian principal medical officers, he said. They were present at the event.
He said the reason for this was because of a shortage of Namibian-born  doctors and nurses.
“This is not correct and should be rectified,” he said.
According to him, Namibia now has a medical school, where Namibians can be trained in the medical field and take charge of their own hospitals. He said a pharmacy school would also be established next year, with six training centres planned throughout the country.
“There is nothing third-world about us. We can be one of the best – with our own people and our own facilities,” the minister said.

 

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