THE Namibian government has acquired the services of 25 Cuban medical specialists who arrived in the country on Thursday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services Andrew Ndishishi announced on Saturday.
In addition to the 25 medical officials from the Caribbean country, the ministry will also welcome an additional 45 medical specialists who will be deployed at referral and intermediate hospitals before the end of this month.
The referral hospitals are Windhoek Central, Katutura State Hospital, Oshakati State Hospital and Rundu Hospital.
Ndishishi made the announcement in a statement saying the medical practitioners who arrived include seven pharmacists, three ear, nose and throat surgeons, two pediatricians, two plastic surgeons and two dentists who are part of the bilateral agreement with the Cuban government.
The other nine members include a dermatologist (skin doctor), anaesthetist, urologist, gynaecologist, medical equipment engineer, an internist (physician), vascular surgeon, nephrologists (kidney specialist) and an orthopaedic surgeon.
Ndishishi said the ministry is planning to bring in more health practitioners.
He said, through multi-lateral cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the ministry has engaged the service of the African Management Service Company (Amsco).
Amsco is a specialised arm of the UNDP for human resources capacity building in Africa to identify and recruit the best medical officials.
As a result of that programme, they identified 10 medical specialists and two medical equipment engineers who are set to arrive in the country before the end of September 2013.
There are four internists, two gynaecologists, two paediatricians, and a pair of medical equipment engineers.
A presidential report earlier this year revealed that specialised medical equipment worth more than N$4 million at various government health facilities is currently out of order due to installation problems, is not user friendly, or is of substandard quality.
The other medical practitioners who are set to work here are a general surgeon, an orthopaedic surgeon, a spinal surgeon, and a neuro surgeon.
“The above mentioned measures to address those identified medical shortages are designed as a short and medium term strategy pending the permanent solution of medical doctors and professional scarcity in the country,” Ndishishi added.
The permanent secretary said, as part of their a permanent solution, they placed 250 medical students at medical schools in the country, region and the world. The ministry has also started with the training of 260 nurses per year at three venues to address the staff shortage at public health centres.
The latest development is a coup by the ministry which has been under fire over the past years over under-par health services.
A presidential inquiry into the health sector found that there is an “acute and critical” shortage of health professionals.
According to the report, there are currently 909 registered doctors in Namibia and 277 of them are working for the government, while there are 3 355 registered nurses of whom 1 680 are working for the State.
Filed Under: Global Health
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