THE Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi says that with the high rate of unemployment in the country, many people had taken up nursing not because they are committed to the profession but because it would ensure them financial rewards.
"Unfortunately, in the profession, nurses will have to put serving (their patients) before earning," said Kamwi.
Addressing 240 nursing graduates in Windhoek yesterday, Kamwi urged them to have a strong desire to care for others, to cooperate and coordinate their activities with other members of the health care team and to have a caring attitude when attending to patients.
Namibia is one of many African countries faced with human resources challenges in the health sector, especially the shortage of nurses and doctors.
Although the University of Namibia has been providing health training over the years, the institution has not been able to train sufficient health care professionals to satisfy the growing demand both in the public and private health sectors.
To worsen the situation, the presidential commission of inquiry into the health sector reported that the graduates from Unam, did not have hands-on experience.
The health ministry, however, complements the efforts of Unam and has since then decided to start a three-year diploma course for midwives at three health training centres, namely Keetmanshoop, Windhoek and Rundu. In addition the Ministry intends to work closely with the International University of Management (IUM) and the Welwitschia University in South Africa to also train Registered Nurses Midwives in the near future, to help address the acute shortage of health workers in the country.
"I am indeed pleased to see that locals are taking up the challenges to supplement the efforts of the government," Kamwi said.
However the recruitment of foreign professionals remains an interim measure that aims to respond to the increasing health care needs of Namibians
Kamwi urged the graduates to work with other health professionals to ensure that complaints about the negligence and rudeness of health workers becomes a thing of the past.