Namibia’s response to its high prevalence, generalized HIV epidemic requires comprehensive and integrated prevention, care, and treatment at the primary care level, including interventions to ensure a well-skilled and well-distributed health workforce. CapacityPlus’s assistance to Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) complemented support from a USAID/Namibia bilateral project led by IntraHealth.


  • Supporting the MOHSS in application of the World Health Organization’s Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) tool across all 13 regions to estimate staff workloads and improve the distribution of health workers. Findings were disseminated at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health and in an article in Human Resources for Health. The Ministry used the data to defend its requests for additional staff and inform the development of evidence-based norms for the public-service sector. The exercise included separating activity standards for nurses into registered and enrolled nurses, the results for which provide updated staffing estimates that will help Namibia develop plans to staff hospitals, health centers, and clinics according to actual workload, including the roll-out of nurse-initiated management of antiretroviral treatment (NIMART). With nurses based at the primary health facility level able to enroll new patients and prescribe treatment, NIMART promises to have a profound impact on access to HIV treatment at the community level.
  • In response to concern about the country’s recently rising maternal and neonatal mortality rates, providing technical and financial support for a study on the prevalence and contributing factors of facility-based maternal and neonatal deaths in five regions of Namibia, and a study of health workers’ attitudes toward delivering maternal and neonatal care and whether their perceptions affect the quality of care that they provide.
  • Building the capacity of three faith-based organizations (FBOs), Catholic Health Services, Lutheran Medical Services, and Anglican Medical Services to maintain and update the iHRIS Manage human resources information systems software on their own, with over 1,350 health worker records now captured across the three organizations.

CapacityPlus also collaborated with the People that Deliver initiative to strengthen the HIV/AIDS supply chain workforce. This included 1) completing an incentive and retention study of pharmacists and pharmacy assistants using the Rapid Retention Survey Toolkit to inform strategies to improve attraction and retention in hard-to-reach areas; and 2) supporting the Ministry to conduct a WISN activity among pharmacists and pharmacy assistants resulting in adjustments to the activity standards for these two cadres to better inform staffing needs to ensure ARV provision.

Photo by Trevor Snapp, courtesy of IntraHealth International