Health ministry urges action to address pharmaceutical stock-outs

Health and social services executive director Ben Nangombe says there is a pressing need to tackle pharmaceutical stock-outs across Namibia.

Nangombe was speaking during the 2024 Annual National Pharmaceutical Services Forum at Swakopmund on Wednesday.

“The importance of the availability of pharmaceuticals cannot be overstated as medicines and related items are at the centre of providing healthcare services for our people. The reality is that many of our people are afflicted by both communicable and non-communicable diseases that require pharmacotherapy and this is where the sub-sector comes in,” he said.

Nangombe highlighted the sometimes dire consequences of pharmaceutical stock-outs, particularly for vulnerable populations.

“Many of our people who present to health facilities are met with stock-outs. A poor mother who takes her infant to a clinic in a far-flung rural area, an infant who is infected with tonsillitis and does not find amoxicillin there faces dire consequences, may face loss of life,” he said.

Nangombe further urged the need for internal reflection within the ministry.

“We need to look inwards, we need to introspect. There are managerial, supervisory and operational weaknesses in our system that we need to address internally.”

Nangombe said pharmacists in the public health sector are trained at the same schools as those in the private sector.

“However, the notion persists that pharmacists in the public sector are less efficient. You must rise to the occasion and dispel this notion, once and for all. I know you can.”

Nangombe further called for collaboration, knowledge exchange and innovation among Namibians.

“Together, we can build a stronger, more resilient pharmaceutical sector that meets the needs of all Namibians,” he said.

Nangombe also urged participants to actively engage in efforts to address pharmaceutical stock-outs.

“The ministry’s commitment to addressing pharmaceutical stock-outs signals a step towards improving healthcare accessibility and quality nationwide,” he added.

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