Namibia is making tremendous progress by graduating its first medical students from the University of Namibia.
Brain drain is an important issue, among others, that continues to stall Africa’s development but Namibia has found an alternative. In 2010, the University of Namibia (UNAM) located in the capital Windhoek, opened its first medical school to facilitate locally trained doctors. This year, 37 medical students graduated from the historic school – Of the 35, 23 are women and 12, men.
According to Dr. Lischen Hoases-Gorases, the Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Studies at the University of Namibia, “It means that doors have been opened for Namibians to enter a profession that they probably only dreamed of.”
“In the past they had to cross the border into South Africa. Not all could be accommodated and the system was such that South Africa would meet its own needs before taking in others,” she said.
With an estimated population of 2.5 million people, Namibia is the 141st largest country in the world by population, while being the 34th largest country in the world by land area.
According to the BBC, the World Health Organization estimates that there are only 0.4 doctors to every 1,000 people.
Despite Namibia’s GDP growth between 2010 and 2014, the nation still deals with high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment. UNDP’s income GNI indicates Namibia’s income disparity is one of the worst in the world – ranking 127th globally.
HIV/AIDS epidemic is a major health crisis among pregnant women in the nation. Over the last 4 years, HIV prevalence rates within the general population have been estimated to be around 13.5% (UNDP). Though health care could be costly, the nation is stepping in the right direction by training its own doctors.
The African Health Observatory reports that the top 10 causes of death in Namibia are currently AIDS, diarrhea, pneumonia, pulmonary tuberculosis, health failure, other respiratory system ailments, anemia, malnutrition, stroke and malaria.