Most health care facilities in Namibia offer the full range of primary care services, according to the 2009 Namibia Health Facility Census (NHFC), the first survey of its kind in Namibia. Nine in ten facilities provide family planning, outpatient care for sick children, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and HIV testing and counseling, and eight in ten facilities offer antenatal care. Lack of infection control and essential equipment in some services remains a major challenge, the new survey reports.
Permanent Secretary and Deputy Permanent Secretary of Health and Social Services launched the Namibia Health Facility Census this morning at the Thuringer Hotel. Conducted by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Namibia HFC visited assessed the availability, frequency, and quality of care at 411 health care facilities, virtually every facility in the country. Results are very positive, Permanent Secretary Kahuure reported, showing that the majority of facilities are providing the required services. Nevertheless, gaps remain.
While 81 percent of all facilities nationwide offer the three basic child health services, curative care for sick children, growth monitoring, and immunisation, only 76 percent of these facilities had all of the standard vaccines in stock on the day of the survey. Similarly, while two-thirds of facilities nationwide provide services for normal childbirth, only 26 percent of facilities in Khomas and 41 percent in Erongo offer delivery care. In addition, many of these facilities are lacking basic essential equipment for safe delivery including suction apparatus, skin disinfectant for the mother and antibiotic eye ointment for the baby.
Inadequate infection control is the major challenge facing Namibian health facilities, as in many other countries worldwide. Only 57 percent of facilities in Namibia have a regular supply of water year round, and only 55 percent have routine supply of electricity or a generator. Almost all hospitals have electricity, but only 64 percent have regular water supply. In addition, many facilities are missing essential equipment for infection control such as hand washing soap and disinfectant and safe waste receptacles.
The Namibia Health Facility Census (NHFC) was carried out by the Directorate of Special Programmes (HIV/AIDS/TB/MALARIA) in the Ministry of Health and Social Services with technical support from ICF Macro, part of the worldwide MEASURE DHS project which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Funding for the NHFC was provided by the Government of Namibia, USAID, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Health Organization.
The Namibia HFC collected data from 411 health care facilities, 1,679 health care providers, and over 2,500 client-provider consultations.