Govt blames lack of fake teeth on procurement backlog

The health ministry says the procurement process is leading to the country’s massive lack of dentures.

Executive director of health and social services Ben Nangombe on Thursday told The Namibian: “We have a N$10-million budget. It is not a matter of resources. If there is any shortage of any items at all, it could either be that the facilities may not have ordered the items from the central medical stalls.

“It could also be that these facilities may not have verified with other facilities where those items may be.”

Nangombe said when there is a shortage of any medical items, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has a system that quantifies the need of particular items needed in specific facilities.

“If those items are found to have been out of stock, then they can be ordered to fill the need.

“The system is designed in such a way that if a particular item is ordered today, the average monthly usage statistics are kept, so when a threshold is reached it will trigger the procurement process,” he said.

Nangombe stressed that the backlog could be a result of the affected facilities who were supposed to order the items, triggering the procurement process, or the items may have not been ordered on time.

Sometimes the specific items may not have been in stock, or not have been put on the market by manufacturers.

Namibian Sun has reported that the backlog in consultations for and the making of dentures at the ministry is largely driven by a shortage of staff and resources.

According to a notice posted by the health ministry at Katutura State Hospital, no new patients requiring dentures can be attended to due to the backlog, the publication has reported.

Nangombe in the report confirmed that the backlog has been ongoing for a considerable period, attributing it to resource constraints and operational challenges.

The Namibian reached out to health ministry spokesperson Walter Kamaya, who says only two facilities in the country currently offer these services.

“The waiting list is long. Each hospital has put through requests to procure relevant materials for the Katutura and Oshakati intermediate hospitals.

“The ministry is exploring ways to expand those services to other facilities,” he said.

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