MPs differ on UHC consultations

Some members of Parliament (MPs) have expressed disappointment with the process in which consultation on the implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is being done.

According to the political representatives during the Consultative Engagement on UHC with Members of Parliament in Swakopmund on Thursday, the absence of the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, is an indication “that he is not convinced” about the UHC programme.

“The minister was supposed to lead this meeting in developing whatever logical conclusion will come from this consultation, because ultimately what is going to happen is to enact the law, but it is wrong to pursue it in this manner,” said Landless People’s Movement MP Edson Isaacks.

UHC means that every individual and community should have access to quality and affordable health services without suffering undue financial hardship or financial catastrophe.

It also includes access to essential medicines, therapeutics, vaccines and technologies that are effective, safe and of good quality.

In response to the queries, Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) Executive Director Ben Nangombe emphasised the importance of creating platforms where different stakeholders can become part and parcel of the UHC journey through public consultations.

He stressed that the attainment and realisation of UHC not only means lowering, but actually removing barriers to seeking, accessing and receiving needed healthcare services, across the entire country.

This, according to Nangombe, means investing in the health and well-being of the Namibian people and not only reducing, but overcoming entirely, the challenges they face when they seek healthcare services.

Nangombe said as the entity spearheading the preparatory work to make UHC a reality in Namibia, the MoHSS was pleased that this engagement could finally take place as there were quite a number of near hits and misses over the past few months when they were trying to set it up.

“The fact of the matter is that there must be informed buy-in from all stakeholders who can then stand as ambassadors and champions to propagate UHC across the length and breadth of Namibia because at its core, UHC is about the people of most at risk demographics for whom, we as lawmakers, as policy makers and as implementers must cater for,” he expressed.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency