Despite the relatively low number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the country, Namibia ranks 11th globally in terms of TB incidence and per capita expenditure on TB treatment. 

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, emphasised that the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB poses a significant health challenge for the country. 

Dr. Shangula made these remarks during the discussion of the Appropriation Bill at the committee stage.

With a budget allocation of over N$10 billion to the Health Ministry, which accounts for 11% of the total national budget, Dr. Shangula emphasised his ministry's commitment to combating TB by enhancing free diagnosis and treatment services.

He added that the current rate stands at 87%; however, TB still remains the leading cause of death among people with HIV.

The ministry has deployed community health workers to facilitate case finding and treatment support while also harnessing technologies such as artificial intelligence-assisted X-rays for diagnosis.

Dr. Shangula also highlighted ongoing stakeholder engagements and targeted interventions, particularly focusing on minors, as integral components of the TB National Strategic Plan.

"The observed decline in external funding for HIV, TB, and malaria necessitates increased mobilisation of domestic resources to maintain momentum and the gains made and continue effectively responding to the free diseases. None of the of the communicable diseases present a major public health concern. In countries like Namibia, deaths attributable to NCDS are increasing and are estimated at 43% of all deaths. The most common non-communicable diseases are high blood pressure, malaria, and some cancers. There is a need to allocate resources to support community-level efforts to educate the community about these diseases as well as their complications, such as stroke, heart failure, and end-stage renal failure."



Joleni Shihapela