Health

UN Children’s Fund

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND

Project Overview

Namibia adopted the Primary Health Care Approach soon after independence in 1990 as the overarching strategy to address fragmented services inherited from the apartheid era. The Ministry of Health and Social Services discovered that in spite of the progress made in the implementation of Primary Health Care, the provision of health services did not extend beyond the clinic facilities especially in the sparsely populated areas of the country. Subsequently a pilot

– Health Extension Workers programme was launched. To date there are 1 366 HEWs employed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and operating in 11 of the 14 regions of the country. There is one trained HEW per 500-750 inhabitants (100-150 households)

– with the ration dependent on regional mapping, geographical situation/household dispersion and are serving underserved communities more than 5 km from a health facility The HEWs is responsible for the delivery of a standard set of primary health care services in child, maternal, neonatal health and nutrition, family planning, malaria, TB and HIV/Aids, social welfare and first aid.

A major challenge in delivering these services is the distance the HEWs have to travel to reach the target communities and to fulfil their reporting duties. Long distances and lack of public transport causes delay in submissions of reports, difficulty in attending supervision meetings, delays in receiving allowances, and restocking items. In addition to the distances HEWs are required to cover to ensure delivery of services to those most at need.

The Pupkewitz Foundation funded 300 fully fitted bicycles to the Ministry of Health & Social Services and UNICEF Health Extension Workers Programme.

The objective of the initiative is to:

– Improve the working conditions of HEWs,

– Improve access to community-based health care,

– Improve increase retention of HEWs within the health care system

 

Impact

The purpose of the bicycle programme is to support health extension workers with means of transport and basic equipment that will both extend the reach and quality of the health care services and improve motivation and retention of community Health Extension workers. Improved access to health care (through improved coverage of prevention and health promotion activities) and increased number of village health care visits, improved health extension workers satisfaction, income potential and community status.