Health Ministry employed 257 in January

By Paulina Ndalikokule

IN an effort to overcome staff-related challenges in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the ministry filled about 257 positions as of January 2020. These positions include 135 registered nurses, 22 pharmacists, 64 assistant pharmacists, 16 radiographers and 20 assistant radiographers.

Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula at a press conference in Windhoek last week said the ministry requires about 7 338 additional staff members in various categories. He said due to limited resources the Office of the Prime Minister could only approve 4 595 critical positions to structure of the ministry.

These specialist positions include medical officers, dentists, ophthalmic clinical officers, pharmacists, medical technologists, social workers, enrolled nurses, orthopedic technologists, psychological counsellors, radiographers and others.

“There are also positions for work hands, cleaners, drivers and other cadres for facilities that do not have such staff member, especially for clinics and health centres in rural areas and smaller towns,” the minister remarked.

He said the ministry could not recruit all health extension workers due to limited resources. “Out of a total of 2,214 health extension workers trained 1,565 were recruited by the ministry, while 649 could not be recruited due to lack of resources,” he said.

Shangula also announced that the medical doctor, who allegedly decapitated a baby during birth at Windhoek Central Hospital last year, has since been reinstated. It was alleged the doctor somehow ripped the baby’s head off while the mother was giving birth.

The incident happened on 5 December. It was reported that the doctor allegedly exaggerated the horror by throwing the baby’s head on the bed next to the mother afterwards and blaming the traumatised woman for causing the death of her child.

The minister said the ministry had investigated the matter after immediately suspending the implicated doctor. He said a post-mortem examination was conducted and the results were shared with the family.

“The results of the post-mortem investigation revealed that the medical personnel did not act in any culpable manner and the suspended doctor has been reinstated. For ethical reasons, I will not share with the public the details of the post-mortem results,” Shangula said.

He said it was sufficient to clarify that the baby had multiple congenital deformities that were not compatible with life and was not viable at the time of delivery. Shangula said the ministry has stood with the family during this trying time by providing counselling and other support.