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Outgoing Namibian Health Minister chronicles achievements

24th Feb 2015 Namibia’s outgoing Health and Social Services Minister, Richard Kamwi has recently highlighted the successes of his ministry, saying he is proud of the ministry’s efforts in moving Namibia’s public health system in the right direction since 2005 when he was appointed.

Mr Kamwi talked about taking up his designation at a crucial time when the country was battling major malaria outbreak which took about one thousand and seven hundred lives. According to the Health Minister, figures dropped to 36 deaths in 2011.

The minister is quoted as saying in his farewell speech that “At independence, we experienced the worst malaria epidemic, ever with close to 400 000 cases. Every third Namibian was affected. We lost more than 7 000 lives due to this epidemic,”

He added “I was called when it was the climax of malaria pandemic, but we won the battle. It was a time when everyone was affected,”

The minister’s statistics tally with those of the World Health Organization presented at the launch of the ‘Wipe Out Malaria’ campaign in 2010, which states that malaria deaths in Namibia dropped by an impressive ninety percent between 2001 and 2008. Statistics also indicates that the number of malaria cases treated in hospitals have also fallen by 77%, from 41 100 to 5 200 between 2001 and 2008.

The minister encouraged ministerial staff to review the ministry’s organizational structure regularly, to be able to stay relevant in the face of evolving health situations. He also noted that the country has experienced a rising epidemic of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes and emotional problems.

He said “We have to continue paying high attention to the unfinished business of communicable diseases. HIV/Aids still remains a challenge,”

In April last year America’s Global AIDS coordinator, Eric Goosby, praised Namibia for its prevention of mother-to-child transmissions, a programme that covers about 85% of the country’s population, saying that this is an achievement that few countries in sub-Saharan Africa have achieved.

The out-going health minister also talked about his ministry’s efforts to address skill shortages, saying that the ministry established six training network centers, which have produced more than 2000 enrolled nurses, midwives, 149 pharmacist assistants, 63 environmental health assistants, 22 radiography assistants and 18 medical lab technician assistants since 2005.

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