Reliable pre-hospital services should involve a holistic approach says Health Minister
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula on Friday stated that it is critical to have in place well-developed, functional and reliable Emergency Medical Services, as it is an integral part of any health care delivery system
“This is particularly so for a country such as Namibia with a disproportionate number of trauma cases from different causal events,” he said in a statement on the occasion of the National Emergency Medical Services Day exhibition in Windhoek.
“As such, emergency medical systems have to be robust to be responsive and provide effective care as required. We bear witness to this, especially at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
On the other hand, Kalumbi said emergency medical systems address a wide range of medical, surgical, and obstetric conditions including injury, complications of pregnancy, exacerbations of non-communicable diseases for example heart attack and stroke, and acute infections such as sepsis and malaria.
According to Kalumbi, the World Bank Disease Control Priorities Project estimates that with sound financing and organization, Emergency Care Systems have the potential to address nearly half of deaths and a third of disabilities incurred annually in low-and middle-income countries.
“It is worth noting that more than 80% of the Namibian population access and receive medical services from public health facilities. About 60% of patients seen at emergency departments are brought in by emergency service providers,” he added.
Kalumbi said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed many gaps and challenges in the provision of
emergency care services, while it stretched the capacity to the limit, it also proved that the country’s systems are resilient and can respond to shocks.
“Going forward, we need to re-organize, re-orient, and consolidate our emergency care ecosystem to be better positioned for patients both in regular and pandemic situations,” he concluded.