|Doctors needed in rural areas - Dr. Hamata|
|Written by William J. Mbangula|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:01|
The future policy for the recruitment of medical doctors by the Namibian government should give preference to those who are prepared to work in rural areas.This was said by Dr. Naftali Hamata, the Special Advisor to the Minister of Health and Social Services, when he addressed trainees in medicinal and pharmaceutical sciences at Ongwediva. The trainees have just completed their rural attachment to Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions.
“Namibia is 58% rural and 42% urban (2011 census), but you find an abnormal situation whereby 80% of our specialists are based in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. You should be prepared to serve the entire landscape of Namibia, mainly the rural areas, not only urban Erongo and Khomas Regions. We need at least 50% of our doctors in rural Namibia. In these northern regions where 55% of our 2.1 million population live, at least 60% of hospitals have no Namibian doctors,” he stressed.
Dr.Hamata, who was the Director of Health in Oshana Region for many years until his recent retirement, told the UNAM School of Medicine students that they should treat patients without due regard to their status in society and that patients’ dignity should be respected at all times.
The trainees from Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia were presenting their final rural attachment reports at the UNAM Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology in Ongwediva last Friday, July 6. They were attached to various clinics, health centres and hospitals in Oshakati, Engela, Onandjokwe, Okahao, Indira Ghandi, Tsandi, Outapi and Oshikuku.
Under the watchful eye of the Dean of UNAM School of Medicine, Professor Peter Nyarango, Dr. Jacob Sheehama and Dr. L. Lukolo, the students spent a full month training in various aspects of medical knowledge and know-how, mainly with a special focus on rural health-care.
“It costs more than half a million [Namibia dollars] to train a doctor in Namibia if all the costs are put together. If we go to South Africa, for instance, it is much more expensive,” said the Kenyan-born founding Dean of UNAM School of Medicine.
Professor Nyarango said the third year group of 65 students, who completed their rural attachment recently, is the original cream of the School of Medicine, which started operating in 2010. There are currently 65 more students in the second year. There are a further 85 first-year students doing medicine, while 35 are studying to be pharmacists.