Albertina Nakale Windhoek-Ministry of Health and Social Services has revealed that the first batch of 167 nurses will graduate end of this month from the three additional training centres established to address nurse shortage. Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, said government was determined to train more health professionals locally to saturate the job market and satisfy both the public and private sub-sectors. Haufiku revealed this in the National Assembly recently when Swanu Member of Parliament, Usutuaije Maamberua, asked how far the implementation of recommendations emanating from a September/October 2012 presidential commission of inquiry into the status of health in Namibia is. The report was publicly released and Swanu, as the only political party that had made submission to the commission, was delighted to note that its ideas, inputs and recommendations had been taken on board and had formed part of the resulting recommendations. Maamberua wanted to know how far the implementation of those recommendations is and whether there is an implementation plan regarding these resolutions. In response, Haufiku said the ministry developed a short-term implementation plan as well as a roadmap to accelerate the implementation of the recommendations. This, he said, included the establishment of three additional training centres from where the first group of 167 nurses is expected to graduate end of this month. In 2014, the Registered Nurses Diploma Training Project centres: Windhoek Health Training Centre, Rundu Regional Health Training Centre and Keetmanshoop Regional Health Training Centre enrolled their first student intake. As part of the programme, every centre will register 90 students per year to be trained in General Nursing and Midwifery Science. The Registered Nurses Diploma Training programme will run for six years, and is aimed at addressing the current shortage of registered nurses and midwives in the country. He said this is part of government’s drive to tackle the shortage of health professionals to fill vacant positions in the health sector, especially in rural areas. It has been reported that most young people do not want to go and work in the rural areas where the situation is even dire. In this regard, Haufiku noted that the ministry has devised strategies to attract, motivate and retain staff to work in the public health sector and in rural areas. “The ministry conducted a study to determine factors influencing the retention of the health worker in the public health sector and the findings and recommendations formed part of the current public service retention strategies in particular the rural and hardship allowances,” he revealed. He said they would provide adequate staff accommodation, especially in remote areas, and make this part of a comprehensive incentive package for retaining staff in such areas. According to him, all newly constructed health facilities, especially clinics and health centres, include staff accommodation and related amenities. Further, the minister said the ministry sought Cabinet approval to increase medical and health-related students by introducing project 2013, which aimed at accelerating the intake of medical, and health related international academic institution medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, radiography, environmental health, clinical sciences, biomedical and clinical technology, medical orthodontist, dietetics and orthopaedic technology. Equally, he said the ministry managed to enrol 48 medical officers for specialisation programmes abroad in addition to the locally enrolled 167 nurses set to graduate. They also managed to increase the number of teaching health facilities to accommodate more students and formalise the conversion of Windhoek Central Hospital and Katutura State hospitals into a teaching hospital complex. “The ministry has added Onandjokwe Hospital to the teaching hospitals and Keetmanshoop, Walvis Bay, Otjiwarongo, Engela, Katima Mulilo, Opuwo and Rundu have been earmarked for upgrading to become teaching hospitals. Cabinet has already directed this year that the ministry proceed,” he maintained. He also said the Health Professionals Council of Namibia (HPCNA) Bill has also been finalised. The Bill will among others compel each healthcare professional, graduate or doctor aspiring to practice in their private capacity within the country, to work for Government for a minimum of five years before they are registered with HPCNA. Currently, graduates undergo two years practical training at public institutions before they are registered with HPCNA, after which they can practice as private or public health professionals.
2017-09-28 10:18:35 11 months ago