The minister was speaking during the commemoration of World Health Day at the UN Plaza in Katutura yesterday, where he said on the other hand, unsafe and low-quality healthcare ruined lives and was costly.
This year, the day was celebrated under one message: giving people access to healthcare without the prospect of experiencing financial hardship.
Shangula said primary healthcare should be the first level of contact with the health system where individuals, families and communities receive most of their services.
“At its heart, primary healthcare is about caring for people and helping them improve their health or maintaining their well-being, rather than just treating a single disease or condition,” he stated.
Primary healthcare covers most of a person’s life, including services such as screening for health problems, vaccination, information on how to prevent diseases, and family planning.
Shangula said a health system that has a strong primary healthcare component delivers better outcomes, and improves quality of life.
He noted that primary healthcare workers have a continuing and trusted relationship with their patients and know their health history, which helps them improve their care and save money.
The minister furthermore encouraged the community to avoid open defecation, and to ensure that they wash their hands regularly, especially after visiting the toilet, in support of the relaunched national campaign to combat hepatitis E.
World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Charles Sagoe-Moses told the gathering that universal healthcare ensures that everyone can access essential, quality health services without facing financial hardships.
“We know that progress towards health-related and broader goals can only be possible by providing access to essential quality care and protection from financial hardship to everyone, everywhere,” he said.
Sagoe-Moses noted that the outbreak of hepatitis E has taught the country the importance of addressing broader determinants of health, such as water and sanitation, to ensure health security for all people. World Health Day has been celebrated annually on 7 April since 1948.
Deputy minister of health Juliet Kavetuna told parliament last week that establishing an inclusive healthcare system is a matter of urgency for financially disadvantaged Namibians.
She said the health ministry is challenged with making healthcare accessible to all Namibians, as many people who require such services fall within the low-income range.
“It is a generally accepted fact that the financing of healthcare will be a lower priority than food or shelter provision in any household,” Kavetuna said.
According to her, universal healthcare will ensure that all people have access to health services. This includes prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation.
Parliament is currently debating the universal healthcare bill, which is expected to address the country’s approach to healthcare to avoid a scenario where the quality of services which patients receive is informed more by their socio-economic status rather than their need of care.
The event was attended by representatives of the WHO, regional councillors, government leaders and members of the public.
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Publish date : 2019-04-11 17:27:39