By Petronella Sibeene
Government says it will evict Namibian health workers entitled to housing allowances but who are occupying houses and flats meant for recruited expatriate nurses and doctors.
Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi on Wednesday instructed regional health directors to urgently reverse this anomaly and ensure that such accommodation is allocated to those entitled to it.
“Across the country, there is provision for nurses’ homes which in most cases are not used for their designed purposes. You will find most of them occupied by all sorts of health workers including drivers, family members and friends and in some cases, people who do not work for the ministry,” said the minister.
He said this state of affairs should be addressed soonest.
In the past two years, Government has recruited expatriate health professionals on two-year contracts to relieve the severe health professional deficit in the country.
According to the minister, these are entitled to government accommodation but are not housed accordingly.
Because of that, Kamwi says, “Namibian health workers entitled to housing allowances are moved out of government houses/flats to make room for those entitled to these residences.”
The ministry on an annual basis receives medical interns and as of 2008, the programme will take two years. The ministry is expected to accommodate the apprentices.
In 2006, there were about 15 interns and 25 last year. The number is likely to increase, Kamwi said.
The minister also expressed concern over the sanitation situation at most health facilities.
A case in point, Kamwi said, is what is happening in the area around the headquarters and doctors’ homes.
“In a tenant-landlord relationship, there are responsibilities on both ends. As landlords, it is our responsibility to ensure that the facilities are kept up to standard at all times,” he said.
But the minister congratulated the management at the Windhoek Central Hospital and Katutura State Hospital for making the hospital surroundings green.
He said the time is now to restructure and streamline the two hospitals, especially that the two institutions were designed to meet the needs of the past.
Although he could not elaborate, Kamwi said there is need to come up with simple yet effective structures responsive to the needs of all Namibians today.
Kamwi made the remarks during the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ annual management committee meeting held this year in Otjiwarongo.
The meeting ends today (Friday).