Healthcare System in Namibia: An Overview

Healthcare System in Namibia: An Overview

Vistolina Nuuyoma (School of Nursing, University of Namibia, Namibia) and Daniel Opotamutale Ashipala (School of Nursing, University of Namibia, Namibia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2139-7.ch001

Abstract

Primary health care is an approach adopted for the delivery of health services to the Namibian population. In terms of this approach, these services are made universally available, accessible, affordable, acceptable, and appropriate to meet the needs of communities. The health care delivery system in Namibia comprises services provided by both the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) and the private sector. In addition to these services, some people consult traditional health care providers. All in all, health care comprises a combination of promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services. In addition to government funding, donations and technical support are also provided by non-governmental organisations. The MoHSS health care delivery system is coordinated at national, regional and district levels. This chapter elaborates on the Namibian health care delivery system, the structure and functions of each coordinating level, primary health care services in Namibia, as well as successes and challenges experienced.
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Introduction

On gaining independence in 1990, Namibia inherited a health care delivery system that was segregated along racial lines, was fragmented and based entirely on curative health services while simultaneously being inefficient and inadequate. Since then, the government of Namibia (GRN), through the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), has adopted a primary health care (PHC) approach for the delivery of health services to the Namibian population. These services are made universally available, accessible, affordable, acceptable and appropriate to meet the needs of communities. Communities are the focal point for action and all planning and allocation of resources must take into account community needs such as safe water supplies, sanitation, adequate housing, immunisation, the prevention of epidemics, health education, maternal and childcare services and curative services.

Chapter Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Describe the health care system in Namibia

  • Identify how Primary Health Care approach is integrated into the Namibian health care system

  • Illustrate the structure, composition and functions of the health care system

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Main Focus Of The Chapter

This chapter describes the health care delivery system used in Namibia. In this section, the public health care system, health care services in the private sectors and the traditional health care in Namibia are described in detail. Moreover, the role of non-governmental organizations in the health care system are briefly introduced. Lastly, the structure, composition and functions of different levels in the health care delivery system are described.

The Health Care Delivery System in Namibia

Health care services in Namibia are provided by the government through the MoHSS, the private sector and traditional health care service providers. Such health care provides a combination of promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. In order to render these services, the MoHSS has divided the country into 14 operational health regions which correspond with the 14 delimited political and administrative regions. These regions are further divided into 34 districts. In the public sector, health care services are provided by 29 district hospitals, four intermediate and referral hospitals, 309 health centres, as well as 1150 clinics and outreach points. In addition, there are private health care facilities in some regions. The districts are managed by district coordinating committees which are responsible for providing basic health care services. These basic services are managed on three levels: nationally through the MoHSS from its head office in Windhoek, regionally through regional management teams and at district level by district management committees.

Namibia’s health care system aims to improve and maintain the wellbeing of all its citizens to attain the MoHSS goal of “forward with health for all Namibian by the year (2005) and beyond”. The aim of the health care services is to prevent and cure disease, rehabilitate those who have suffered illness and promote good health for all citizens. Since independence, the area of coverage within a 10-kilometre radius of a health facility has more than tripled as a result of an increase in the number of health facilities in the country. Consequently, 80% of the population now lives within 10 kilometres of a clinic. However, this still leaves 20% or over 300 000 people in remote areas, particularly Omaheke and Kunene, without ready access to health services.

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