Namibia: private health care weathered third wave without expanding facilities

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A BIG number of private health care providers made no effort to expand their health facilities during the third wave of the pandemic.

This despite the fact that these practitioners admitted there was a lack of adequate health facilities, in a survey conducted by the Namibia Private Practitioners Forum (NPPF) in preparation for Wave Four.

During the third wave, hospitals were so overwhelmed, especially public hospitals which saw patients brought in from private hospitals due to a lack of capacity there. Hospitals like the Katutura Intermediate Hospital have experienced a maximum of 12 deaths from Covid-19 disease.

The survey was conducted among nearly 400 general practitioners and medical specialists, a report of which will be published later. According to the survey, 88% of those polled confirmed that they were involved in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, of which 36% said they were completely overwhelmed, 55% said they had difficulty coping, while 9% said they found it quite easy to cope with the third wave.

Meanwhile, 77% were forced to treat Covid-19 patients in their practice, whose treatment they said exceeded their practice’s planned infrastructure capacity. In the survey, 90% of participants admitted that there were not enough private health facilities in their area of ​​practice during Wave 3. Of that figure, 31% said no effort was made to increase capacity during Wave 3, while 31% said efforts were made but unsuccessful. Meanwhile, 29% said their efforts were successful.

According to NPPF Managing Director Dries Coetzee, during Wave 3 there appears to have been a lack of coordination between the private and public sectors.

“Although the vast majority of private health care providers report a lack of adequate private health facilities, no effort has been made to expand them in one-third of cases, and in one-third of cases, efforts to expand. expand private establishments were made but without success. “, noted Coetzee.

He explained that only a third of those interviewed said successful efforts had been made to expand private health facilities, and when such efforts to expand private health facilities were successful, private companies were far behind. the biggest supporters and contributors to such success. The health ministry, medical aid funds and local authorities have provided the least support for these efforts, Coetzee said.

“Where such efforts have been made but failed, the lack of government support and approvals would be the biggest obstacle, followed by a lack of skilled health workers. It was reported to the NPPF that the lack of qualified nurses has proven to be a major challenge, with some makeshift facilities relying on volunteers, without medical training, to help them, ”explained the CEO.

The Public Service Employee Medical Assistance Plan (Psemas), Coetzee said, was viewed by respondents as the worst medical plan to support their members. This is when the Namibian Association of Medical Aid Funds (Namaf) benchmark tariff system, which sets treatment descriptors and tariffs, and which is monitored by all medical aid funds (including the Psemas diet) appears to be insufficient to support the treatment required during a wave of Covid-19 infection.

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