Namibia is a country in southern Africa, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Angola and The Atlantic Ocean.  

Population estimate (2018): 2,612,684

Capital City: Windhoek

Currency used: Namibian Dollar, South African Rand

Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 9

Time zone: GMT +2

Population growth rate (2018): 2.13%

Total fertility rate per woman: 3.29

Languages: Afrikaans, German, English, Herero, Khoekhoe, Kwangali, Lozi, Ndonga, Tswana.  

Key ethnic groups: Ovambo is by far the largest ethnic group in Namibia (49.8%), other main ethnic groups include Kavango 9.3%, Damara 7.5%, Herero 7.5%, white 6.4%, Nama 4.8%.

Religion: 80-90% Christian, 10-20% indigenous beliefs.

Health statistics:

Life expectancy at birth (2016): 61/66 (male/female)

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 244/253 (per 1000 population, 2016)

Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $869

Number of doctors per 1000 population (2014): 0.374

Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2013): 3.51

Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2016): 15.9 [11.5-24.5]

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 265 [172-423]

Births attended by skilled health personnel (2008): 88.2%

Top 10 causes of death (2013)

HIV: 23% of total deaths

Cancer: 8%

Stroke: 7%                                       

Lower respiratory disease: 5%

Diarrhoeal diseases: 5%

Tuberculosis: 5%

Ischemic heart disease: 4%

Diabetes: 3%

Interpersonal violence: 3%

Malaria: 3%

Healthcare system

The healthcare system in Namibia comprises public and private sectors. The public services are run by the government and serve approximately 85% of the Namibian population, who relies mostly on the public primary health care. The public facilities comprise a network of outreach clinics, health centres and hospitals. Namibia doesn’t have a national health insurance scheme, so patients are charged with subsidised flat user fees at the health facilities. Due the subsidised rates, treatment fees and medicine is fairly affordable, although not for everyone. The biggest challenge faced by the public sector is a relative shortage of staff and gaps in access to healthcare. The public hospitals of highest standards are found in Windhoek, Rundu and Oshakati.

The private sector is well-organised and of high standards and mostly run by non-profit medical aid funds (which however have for-profit administrations). They sell medical aid policies to companies that offer health insurance to their employees, as well as to individuals. Private healthcare, however, is too expensive for the majority of the population, and thus only accessed by the middle to high income citizens. In addition, there are many NGO and mission-driven healthcare facilities operating in the country, providing outpatient and inpatient care.

Overall the biggest healthcare challenges in Namibia are inequality in access to care. The main gaps are between rural and urban areas, the poorer and wealthier parts of the population, and between black and white people.