Skills deficit haunts Namibia

By IAfrica
In Namibia
Feb 26th, 2014

WINDHOEK- The Ministry of Health and Social Services continues to be plagued by a severe deficit of various health professionals.

The ministry currently has about 284 vacant posts for medical officers on its staff establishment with 73 unoccupied positions.

Close to 47 specialist positions with a total of six vacancies have also been identified on its database.

The current positions on the staff establishment of the ministry are 2 080 registered nurses and 2 480 enrolled nurses.

Answering questions on how many experts are needed in the medical field and how many registered nurses are required, the public relations officer in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ester Paulus, said “presently there are vacant positions for 321 registered nurses and 210 enrolled nurses”. She said the ministry has 10 625 posts on its staff structure of which 1 102 are vacant.

The current staff establishment was set up in 2003, taking into consideration the population growth over the past years.

“It has become necessary for a restructuring exercise to be conducted by the ministry in order to meet the present demand of delivering quality and appropriate health care,” she said.

Currently, she said, the ministry is busy recruiting additional health professionals such as doctors, specialists and nurses by approaching the Office of the Prime Minister to additionally place them on the current structure.

However, she revealed that the ministry finalised its restructuring document late last year and it would be ready for submission to Cabinet soon.

A skills deficit has also been identified in other fields of study such as chartered accountancy where 650 of these highly specialised professionals are needed. The situation also applies to different engineering disciplines.

According to figures provided by the office of the Engineering Council of Namibia, which is the statutory body for engineering professionals regulated by the Engineering Profession Act (1986), 1 284 engineers were registered members by end of January.

In addition, figures indicate that about 237 engineers are in training who must still work under supervision and another 426 professional engineers have been registered with the Engineering Council of Namibia.

Meanwhile, about 210 incorporated engineers in training (technologists) that must still work under supervision and close to 130 other incorporate engineers have also been registered.

The council recorded about 170 engineering technicians in training, while 111 other engineering technicians who must work under supervision.

Furthermore, the council had registered close to 1 000 members in different engineering disciplines for all categories by October last year.

These engineering disciplines include one aeronautical, nine agricultural, 26 chemical, 546 civil, 316 electrical, 98 electronics, 15 industrial, two marine, 228 mechanical, seven metallurgical and 23 mining engineers.

By Albertina Nakale

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