Remuneration of employees is the largest cost driver in the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS).
This is according to the 2021/22 budget motivation introduced by health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula in parliament last week.
Motivating the ministry’s budget of just over N$8 billion in the National Assembly, Shangula said almost half of the ministry’s N$3.9 billion budget allocation will go towards personnel expenditure while N$3.3 billion is earmarked for goods and other services, whereas N$325 million is set aside for subsidies and other transfers.
“The budget is being presented against the difficult backdrop of the impact of the pandemic on our societies. However, as the saying goes, every dark cloud has a silver lining,” Shangula told parliamentarians while sharing the ministry’s major achievements recorded during the last financial year and also priority programmes to be implemented during the current budget year.
He said during the previous financial year, 190 graduates in various fields started internship programmes, which include 140 medical, 27 dental, 21 pharmacists, and two psychology graduates.
Also, he said, 66 students funded by the ministry completed their training from universities abroad in various fields, namely 19 medical specialists, 97 medical doctors, 38 pharmacists, 11 physiotherapists, and four dentists.
For the Covid-19 response, Shangula said 3 371 staff members were recruited, of which 1 703 are permanent and 1 668 are in temporary positions.
A total of 592 community health workers from nine regions, who were jobless for a number of years, are employed under Covid-19 funding until the end of September 2021, he added.
In terms of infrastructure development, Shangula said a number of isolation facilities were constructed in hospitals across the country which includes 10 and 12-bed units at the Windhoek Central Hospital, four-bed units at Opuwo and eight-bed units at Oshakati and Rundu.
Others include 12-bed units built at Okongo and Gobabis, 12-bed units at Mariental and Keetmanshoop, two-bed units at Walvis Bay and 24-bed units built at Oshikango, Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei Border Post.
Other facilities completed during the reporting period, Shangula said is the Katima Mulilo Hospital Pediatric Ward and the installation of a new incinerator, stormwater reticulation at Gobabis hospital.
He said the government further installed medical gas networks at Otavi Health Centre and Rundu Hospital Maternity Ward, as well as sealing and waterproofing of the roof at Katutura hospital.
Furthermore, Shangula said 375 cardiac operations and procedures were carried out successfully, including open-heart surgeries, thoracic surgery operations, angioplasty/angiography pacemaker implantation, complex devices, and renal denervation therapy for the treatment of resistant hypertension among others.
As part of the Covid-19 response, Shangula said various high-tech medical equipment were procured and distributed to health facilities.
These, he said include, 26 ECG machines, 98 ventilators (13 still in reserve for unforeseen situations), 157 patient monitors, 125 ICU monitors and 15 hyper-lights, to name a few.
Other equipment acquired, Shangula said, include a CT scan machine for Windhoek Central Hospital, fluoroscopy for Oshakati hospital, digital X-ray machines for Okahao and Luderitz district.