By Confidente Reporter
DEPUTY Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna launched the Namibia 2014-2015 Health Accounts Report recently.
The report is the result of well-planned and organised multidisciplinary efforts of the different players, including the World Health Organisation (WHO).
WHO Representative to Namibia, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, in remarks made on his behalf, congratulated the Ministry of Ministry of Health and Social Services, and all the different sectors involved in undertaking this exercise.
He said that findings contained in the report are indeed crucial for the future of the Namibian healthcare system, particularly as the country strives towards the achievement of universal health coverage, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The System of Health Accounts (SHA) tracks all health spending in a given country over a defined period of time, regardless of the entity or institution that financed and managed that spending. It generates consistent and comprehensive data on health spending in a country, which in turn can contribute to evidence-based policymaking.
SHA 2011 can be used as a monitoring and evaluation tool to track changes in policy priorities and health resources allocation and expenditure, following the introduction of reforms and new programs.
The implications and importance of the report for Namibia, is highlighted in the second paragraph in the foreword which states: “Health Accounts estimation is a vital component of health systems strengthening in Namibia as it provides sound estimates of spending on health and therefore provides critical information required for evidence-based decision-making. It provides stakeholders with information on the value of purchased health care goods and services and patterns in financing, provision, and consumption of health care resources. This information will direct the Ministry of Health and Social Services and other national policymakers, donors, and stakeholders in their strategic planning and dialogue to inform decision making for health and social service delivery.”
The report highlights some achievements as well as some areas that need improvement. The government contribution to health spending is 13 percent of its total budget spend, which is close to the Abuja target of 15 percent. This demonstrates clearly the high level of commitment to health, shown by the Namibian government.
However, approximately 90 percent of household spending is through out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure. These payments cause households to shoulder the cost of health goods and services in time of sickness and treatment. This causes a significant financial burden to
the household, which can lead to dangerous implications, including falling into poverty. The WHO discourages high levels of OOP payments, as they are inequitable and consistently prove to be an inefficient means of financing health care.
There are several more issues and recommendations raised in the report, which need to be reflected in the policies and plans of government.
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