Caption: Mark Robertson Lead Author, NGO Commercialization Assessment and Barry Primm Mission Director,USAID/Namibia. (Photograph by Melba Chipepo).
The Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector Namibia (SHOPS) last week presented the findings of the report on Commercial Prospects for Donor- Funded Namibian Non- Governmental Organisations in a report written by Mark Robertson, Ilana Ron Levey and Dawn Crosby.
As part of an effort to quantify, steward and leverage private sector resources to contribute to national HIV and AIDS goals, USAID/Namibia and the Ministry of Health Social Services asked SHOPS to explore a potentially important facet of a national sustainability strategy: Namibian NGOs’ prospects for commercialisation. The SHOPS team began an assessment in July 2012 with the aim of getting a better understanding of a corporate demand for health and wellness services in the Namibia, of exploring and understanding the landscape of indigenous Namibian NGOs that already provide health services and to identify potential opportunities for NGOs to provide commercial health services to Namibian firms and their employees. Namibian Public health represents a major part of the United States’ government; global programs and through USAID, the U.S government supports the efforts of the Government of Namibia and key institutions to address major public health issues affecting the daily lives of Namibians. The report’s findings highlight the opportunity that exists for Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to diversify their revenue streams by exploring innovative alternatives for partnerships. This development comes at a time that HIV and AIDS remain a significant source of morbidity and mortality in Namibia, and as a major drain on health resources. Between 2008 and 2009, the national HIV and AIDS response consumed 27.5 percent of the total expenditure on health. HIV prevalence among adults between 15 to 49 years is estimated at 13.2 percent, while HIV prevalence among pregnant women visiting antenatal clinics is 18.2 percent. However it was reported at the presentation that Namibia is one of the 10 low and middle income countries globally that have achieved universal access to HIV treatment. Currently, approximately 90 percent of HIV- focused civil society organisations are funded through the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) or Global Funds resources. The report also cites the rise of the costs in providing medical aid, the scarcity of providers of wellness services and public services being over stretched as some of the current challenges in Namibia’s health provision landscape. NGOs and firms highlighted four critical challenges that they will need to address in order to inspire greater confidence among potential corporate partners and ensure the smooth and professional delivery of services. The challenges include technical and delivery challenges, where most NGOs have more experience working in rural settings than in the largely urban areas of the Namibian firms which can be a limitation. Human resources challenges and management systems challenges as well as misaligned perceptions are the other challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the smooth and professional delivery of services that firms will pay for.