Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has asked healthcare workers to work hand-in-hand with community leaders, listen to community health issues, identify gaps in healthcare provision and make collective decisions aimed at improving and expanding the provision of quality healthcare services.
He said this will promote public ownership of the health programmes and services the ministry is offering.
“We are also demonstrating our commitment to strengthen community engagements and ensure better access to healthcare services,” stated Shangula during the official handover of a prefabricated structure at Omweelo Gwakasamane border post in the Omusati region.
Migrant populations are some of the key population groups who are negatively affected by healthcare inequalities. “It is for this reason that the ministry has prioritised cross-border collaboration as a vital component in our collective efforts to prepare for and respond to health emergencies, current and future,” he observed.
Namibia has been providing healthcare and treatment services for cross-border patients, especially those living along the Angola/Namibia border.
“In the second quarter of 2022/2023, 211 cross-border patients have received healthcare services at cross-border points in Omusati. These cross-border patients face different challenges to access the services made available to them at the healthcare facilities,” the minister continued.
He said: “This was particularly noted during the closure of the borders during the Covid-19 lockdown that negatively impacted service delivery to cross-border patients.”
Shangula added that there is a commitment to strengthen community engagements, and ensure better access to healthcare services.
“I urge people along the borders, Namibians and our neighbouring brothers and sisters, to use these services for the purposes they are intended.”
Brian Baker, CDC Namibia country director, said healthcare workers could relate to how it feels when working under a tree or makeshift structures. “We will always do whatever it takes to serve those who need healthcare, but providing healthcare is easier for providers and patients when it is given in a workspace that has enough space, is private, and is out of the hot Namibian sun,” he shared.
He added that it takes the commitment of the community to turn this site into a permanent outreach point.