Namibia has taken note of the importance of mother and child health care in its development agenda pointing out that these areas remain the most challenging.
This was said at the Cluster Ministerial Working Session on the Millennium Development Goal’s on Wednesday attended by Prime Minister Hage Geingob and UNDP Administrator and Chairperson of the UN Development Group Helen Clark, where they were looking at the progress the country has made as far as the Millennium Development Goals are concerned.
It was however said that there are intensive efforts aimed at arresting what is truly a worrisome trend.
In the report, Namibia has made an improvement in the eradication of mother to child transmission of HIV\AIDS and also creating awareness to prevent malnutrition among children under 5 years.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services complains that it has a shortage of staff and that there is need to recruit, train and retain personnel. In this regard the ministry is called on more resources to give incentives to staff to retain them.
The ministry also complained about the non-existence of essential equipment and also of outdated instruments, saying that it is very difficult to maintain the equipment in the absence of qualified engineers.
“There is a need for regional referral hospitals with key specialists so that people are not referred to long distance institutions particularly in emergencies. The shortage of human resources has also resulted in the department not being able to do a lot of research,” he said.
Namibia was also well appraised in terms of universal primary education where it achieved 100 percent progress although there are challenges.
Minister of Education David Namwandi said that even though there is progress in the universal primary education they are facing a problem with qualified staff and infrastructure.
“We do not have highly qualified teachers and it is important for the country to strengthen education training if Namibia is to eradicate unemployment,” Namwandi said.
UNDP’s Clark advised the government not to only focus on education training but to also incorporate skills training in the curriculum so as to cater for everyone.
Namibia has done exceptionally well on promoting gender equality and empowering women by extending equal rights and addressing teenage pregnancies.
The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Rosalia Nghidinwa commended the government on the achievement of gender equality.
She however expressed concern about the abuse of women and children in Namibia and the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies pointing out that the government should find solutions on how pregnant girls can go back to school or acquire skills to join the labour market.
“Women and children are killed daily in the country; we need shelter to protect the victims because after being abused they end up going back ending up in dead. Women are the most unemployed in the country,” Nghidinwa said.
Clark commended the government for prioritising health and education, jobs and for having an honest and effective government saying that Namibia is an upper middle income earning country which is progressing very well.