Africa-Press – Namibia. Steven Klukowski
Health and social services minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said healthcare was never the prerogative of the government alone, but rather a concern for all.
He made this statement during the official inauguration of a new kidney and dialysis centre last week in Keetmanshoop.
“Sometimes, resources are spread widely to ensure that we curb the spread of viruses like Covid-19, and whenever that happens, investments in other programmes slow down. Hence, the private sector can also assist in closing some of the gaps, and ensure that the goal of access to healthcare for all remains a reality,” he noted.
Shangula said the private sector requires health workers as well as consumers of their products, while governments require healthy employees and healthy citizenry as a healthy nation is a productive one, which benefits everyone.
“It is the plan of my government to provide easy access to healthcare throughout Namibia,” said the medical practitioner. He added that government plans to continue doing this not only through sustained public investments, but also by leveraging private capital and know-how.
Shangula stated that through collaborating with the private sector, government can facilitate the setting-up of facilities such as the kidney and dialysis centre, and furthermore leverage expertise in the private sector with specialised knowledge in specific fields.
“This is all done for the betterment of Namibians,” he stressed.
He said when approached by Dr Glenda Kalunga about her plan to also offer dialysis services in Keetmanshoop, apart from Windhoek and Katima Mulilo, he fully encouraged her as those suffering from kidney ailments from the //Kharas region have to travel to Windhoek weekly for such treatment.
Dialysis involves the process of removing excess water, solutes and toxins from the blood of people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally.
“When your kidneys fail, dialysis keeps your body in balance by removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body,” he explained. Shangula said this medical procedure will in turn help keep a safe level of essential chemicals in the blood, and additionally help in controlling blood pressure diseases.
The minister then informed those present that //Kharas has been identified as one of the priority regions for special health interventions by the line ministry.
“The regional hospital of Keetmanshoop is due for upgrading (which already started) to Intermediate Hospital level,” he noted. This health facility will also receive modern medical equipment to make it possible for specialist operations to be done here.
“The recruitment of medical specialists in surgery, internal medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology and psychiatry has commenced, while we will seek accreditation from the Health Professions Council of Namibia to train medical, dental and pharmacist interns at the hospital,” he added. This will in the end ameliorate the shortage of staff, and significantly reduce the need for the referral of patients to Windhoek.
Speaking on behalf of his father Nico and 12 other patients who are receiving dialysis treatment, Maxiwill Cloete expressed his profound gratitude towards the health ministry.
“The establishment of the Kidney and Dialysis Unit in Keetmanshoop is a major personal benefit towards us as families of those in need of dialysis treatment,” he said. Cloete also appreciated the fact that they are now able to have their father with them, as opposed to only during weekends previously as he had to travel every week to Windhoek for treatment for more than two years.