This past week I had the opportunity to take part in a Namibian healthcare conference, the 7th Annual Namaf Conference, held in Windhoek.
This is my blog, so occasionally I can be allowed the indulgence of being pleased with myself, don’t you think? My presentation was immediately after that of the Namibian Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, and he stayed to listen to my talk. He left the podium to sit in a seat in the front row to better see the screen and took a number of notes. Afterwards, many people told me that he very seldom remains after his presentation is over, so I was very pleased.
The conference was particularly interesting because the Namibians are making many of the same decisions as we are when it comes to NHI. It was clear from the meeting that Healthcare and NHI are seen as a national imperative. It was clear too that it is a complex and multifaceted subject, and there will be many challenges ahead.
There was a concern expressed by some of the delegates that the reliance on donor funding was a risk, and that sustainability was a challenge that had to be faced.
Although we are facing the same things, the solution must be uniquely Namibian. I pointed out that a systems approach was vital in order to integrate the collection, purchasing and provision of health care. The Namibian government must commit to open dialogue, to take criticism and to recognise and retain expertise.
It is the beginning of an exciting time, and I am looking forward to being part of the journey.