ONGWEDIVA - The Namibian Nurses Union (Nanu) is calling on government to reconsider its decision to shut down branches of the National Health Training Centre (NHTC) across the country and instead reduce the number of intakes.
Nanu, in a press statement, said the decision to shut down NHTC is a demonstration that government is not committed to safeguarding the health of its citizenry.
“This recklessness has just proved what we always doubted - that the government is not committed to safeguarding the health of its citizens and has no plan to rescue the healthcare sector, which is on the verge of collapsing with no clear support systems in sight,” Nanu Regional Coordinator for Kunene Region, Junias Shilunga, said in a statement.
Local media last week reported that the health ministry has suspended the training of nurses due to a lack of funds.
Executive Director in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula, was quoted saying the ministry has not enrolled new trainees this year due to a lack of funds.
The ministry is only training existing students.
Given the shortage of nurses in the country, Shilunga is calling on the public and civil organisations to join hands to fight the decision taken by government and to ensure that Namibians have access to quality health care.
He said the seizure of enrolling students is in its own way ignoring the important role the enrolled nurses have continued to play in the health care system over the years.
“There is no country in the world which has made progress in the public healthcare sector with the exclusion of enrolled nurses and enrolled midwives. It’s, therefore, irresponsible of the government to close down these institutions with the reason of a lack of funds,” said Shilunga.
Shilunga is also dumbfounded by the silence of the Namibia Nursing Council on the matter.
He says the council is supposed to maintain and enhance the dignity of the noble profession, which is now under attack.
As a union, Shilunga said they are equally concerned about the future of the tutors and clinical instructors, who may face possible retrenchment if government does not come to their rescue.