Health ministry to train more nurses

Home Development Health ministry to train more nurses

WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Health and Social Service endeavours to train more than 1000 health professionals every year to alleviate staff shortages in health facilities throughout the country.

This was disclosed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services Permanent Secretary, Andrew Ndishishi during an interview with New Era last week. Ndishishi said the number excludes students who are either sponsored by the Ministry of Education, parents and other organisations.

Ndishishi added that there is an acute shortage of health professionals in all medical fields in Namibia and this is one of the major challenges that has led to insufficient patient care resulting in poor health outcomes.

“Locally we do not have sufficient institutions to train health professionals which is understandable as we are a young nation,” he said.

Ndishishi said although there is a lack of institutions to train health professionals in the country, the ministry was also adding to the already existing training institutions and would upgrade all regional hospitals to become training hospitals.

“There is an expansion and upgrading of national training institutions to increase the enrolment of health professionals, “he said.

Furthermore, Ndishishi said the Ministry has also trained 650 health extension workers who  are to be deployed in the regions, adding that currently Namibia does not have health extension workers at all.

He said Namibia has a critical shortage of human resources at various levels of its health sectors.

“The expansion of the primary care level brought new requirements for the health workforce as more focus was place on developing a professional cadre such as general nurses, to operate and manage health centres and post,” he said.

Ndishisi maintains that human resources remain the crucial element in the  health and social services delivery in the country and the critical shortage thereof at various levels of the health sector needs immediate attention.

“To effectively manage a Human Resource of Health (HRH) system, mangers at different levels must work in a coordinated and systematic manner, as this would help them to better understand that their actions can produce specific improvements at various departmental levels and at the same time contribute to the strengthening of the organisation,” he said.

He said managers have to embrace technological and managerial trends in healthcare, which are some of the aspects related to the broader health system.

“These new opportunities require additional training,” he said adding that emphasis should be placed on the development of corporate culture, characterised by quality and standards.  

“Priority areas that the health professionals will fill once they have completed their studies include medicine, pharmacist, radiography, physiotherapy, clinical science, bio-medical science, environmental health and medical engineering,” he said.

Ndishishi further said more tutors would be trained and sent to lecture at these training institutions adding “we need to close the gap in the number of health professionals if we are to close the gap in the attainment of the health related vision 2030 Goals (MDGs)”.

The Ministry has developed a roadmap, which provides a strategic long-term framework for governance, human resource development, health facility upgrading and the establishment of specialised services and institutions.

By Kuzeeko Tjitemisa