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Is universal health cover possible?

The Social Security Commission (SSC) will host the second universal health coverage (UHC) consultative workshop at the end of this month.

To be held under the theme: "Achieving UHC in Namibia using domestic resources: the way ahead and the role of HIFTAC", the one-day workshop is a follow-up to the first Namibia NHI (Namibia Health Insurance) workshop held in September 2011.

Stakeholders from government ministries, medical aid funds, Namaf, the Associations of Doctors and Pharmacists, civil society organisations, donors, and multilateral Institutions such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), are expected to attend and share ideas on the way forward in the country's attempts to achieve universal health coverage.

According to the Social Security Corporate Communications Manager, Rino Muranda, the first workshop in 2011 was called to sensitise the various stakeholders on the idea of universal health coverage.

Muranda said: "That workshop was initiated by the Social Security Commission and a multi-stakeholder advisory body called Health Insurance and Finance Technical Advisory Committee (HIFTAC) was established at that workshop, with the aim of driving the process of investigating how universal health coverage can be achieved in Namibia.

"Subsequent to that, the commission needed to obtain authorisation from the Ministry of Health and Social Services to carry out the activities envisaged for HIFTAC, which was obtained during 2013. Since then, internal consultations have been taking place, leading to this second workshop."

The workshop will be held in partnership with USAID and Health Systems 20/20 and the African Development Bank. USAID and Health Systems 20/20 have been partners of the commission on this project since inception and provides technical assistance and other resources needed during the execution of the project while the African Development Bank has provided funding for the project.

Muranda said the commission was hopeful that stakeholders will see value in attending this important event and contribute to the debate in order to move the process further.

The World Health Organisation defines universal health coverage as ensuring that all people have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that people do not suffer financial hardship when paying for these services.

It is seen as a fairer, more efficient form of health financing that pools risk and shares healthcare costs equitably across the population.

Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa

Caption: Corporate Communications Manager of the Social Security Commission, Rino Muranda said the first workshop on universal health coverage in 2011 lead to the formation of a multi-stakeholder advisory body, the so-called Health Insurance and Finance Technical Advisory Committee (HIFTAC). This committee is tasked specifically to consider all options for the commission's stated intention of finding sustainable strategies to a health-cover-for-all regime.
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Author:Nyaungwa, Nyasha Francis
Publication:Namibia Economist (Windhoek, Namibia)
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Oct 25, 2013
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