Introduce “bush allowances” for health professionals: Shapumba

OPUWO: The Director of Health for the Kunene Region, Thomas Shapumba says the Ministry of Health and Social Services should consider introducing “bush allowances” health professionals to work in remote areas.

Shapumba told Nampa on Wednesday that besides the general shortage of registered nurses in Namibia, the remoteness of the Kunene Region further adds to health professionals not wanting to come and work here.

The Kunene Region is currently experiencing a critical shortage of health professionals, with only one doctor to assist about 200 patients at times.

“It is true that the nursing profession is a noble profession, where people have to work with passion, but currently we are dealing with the new generation who are moving with the world as it moves towards a digital age,” said Shapumba.

He noted that the current generation would not want to work in remote areas where there is no or little access to telephones and/or televisions, and no electricity in many cases, let alone social recreation facilities.

“We just hope that incentives would work to a certain extend that it will motivate a degree of nurses to flock to the remote health facilities,” noted Shapumba.

He added that it is not certain that the incentives would work, but it is “a desperate attempt to make remote health facilities more attractive”.

This incentive is currently being used by the Ministry of Education, and has produced some results, as most vacancies are filled in remote schools.

One of the traditional leaders in Opuwo, Hariki Maundu, noted that it was very important to train children from remote areas such as Kunene as nurses and doctors, and send them to work at their home villages.

According to Maundu, these trained nurses would be compelled to work for the Health Ministry in the region for a certain period, before they leave their duty stations.

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