Health not renewing foreigners’ contracts

THE health ministry’s permanent secretary, Andreas Mwoombola, yesterday said they will not appoint nor extend the contracts of foreign health professionals until Namibian graduates are accommodated.

There are 714 foreign medical professionals in Namibia.

Over the past years, the ministry has been appointing foreign nationals and extending the contracts of senior health professionals and registered nurses aged 60 years or more because of staff shortages.

In a statement, Mwoombola said the above would no longer be done to accommodate graduates from the ministry’s nursing diploma project, and those graduating from other local institutions such as the University of Namibia (Unam).

The ministry also gets nurses and medical service practitioners from local private training institutions such as the Welwitschia University and the International University of Management.

Mwoombola said due to budgetary constraints, the ministry had to make adjustments “to accommodate these graduates”.

“All contracts which expire as from 1 September 2017 will not be renewed until all new graduates are accommodated,” he explained.

He added that the contracts of those over the ages of 60 who are “on retentions of service contracts” will only be extended for two years, instead of the usual four years.

The ministry’s diploma project will see 175 trainees graduating this year.

Mwoombola gave the assurance that the decision will not affect specific health services in particular domains, such as advanced maternal and neonatal care, “as well as non-Namibians appointed under bilateral country agreements”.

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