By Emma Kakololo
Members of the country’s Health Professions Councils, that aim to protect the public against any unprofessional conduct by practitioners, were sworn in recently.
Delivering his keynote address at the function, Health and Social Services Minister, Richard Kamwi, urged the members to refrain from corruption, as well as using their positions to satisfy personal ambitions.
“You must focus on the protection of the public,” he appealed.
“You as members of the councils may be called upon to take action against one or more health practitioners for some reason or another. These health practitioners may be friends or colleagues of yours,” he warned and added: “There is no reason for being apologetic about performing such duties.”
Kamwi said despite having gone an “extremely” long journey through history, the country has eventually reached a point where it was able to appoint its own members from the five health professions.
Prior to and shortly after independence, practitioners were obliged to register with the Health Professions Councils in South Africa.
“On the other hand, we had the returnees, those Namibians who had returned from exile and who qualified as health practitioners in foreign countries and who were practising in those countries before returning here.”
However, all this changed with the coinage of various health professions acts in 1993. The acts made provision for the establishment of Health Professions boards for the various health professions to create proper registers for all the different health and social services professions and to properly register all practitioners.
The next step, the Minister said was to establish the five interim councils in 2004, to replace the former 18 health professions boards.
“These interim councils commenced with a huge task of organising all the different health and social services professionals into five separate units and to have all the practitioners registered. I am proud to announce that the councils achieved their objectives.”
To the members he said: “If there is cooperation among the members of a council, and if all the members act honesty and in good faith, then you must succeed.”