President Hage Geingob yesterday honoured front line workers as “modern day heroes” and urged them to continue to work for the wellbeing of Namibians, the protection of the country’s communities and the advancement of the nation despite the challenges they face.
Geingob said this in a statement, commemorating Heroes’ Day yesterday. Every year, on 26 August, Namibians celebrate Heroes Day, a national public holiday, recognised by the United Nations (UN) as Namibia Day.
The day commemorates the Namibian war of independence, which began on 26 August 1966 at Omugulugwombashe when liberation fighters took up arms against South African forces.
“I wish to honour our modern-day heroes; those who have held the frontline in our war against Covid-19. I speak of our courageous healthcare workers, law enforcement agencies and public officials, who, since the onset of the coronavirus, have risked their lives daily on the frontlines of this deadly pandemic,” Geingob said.
He said their sacrifices are appreciated, invaluable and represent a bulwark, which continues to safeguard the territorial integrity and future of the country.
“Namibia salutes your patriotism, commitment and sacrifice. In the face of difficulties, I am confident that the citizens of this great country, the country known as the Land of the Brave, can overcome the challenges we face by following the valiant example of those whose blood waters our freedom,” he said.
Geingob says over the past several months, almost every week, he has had to confer either an official, state or hero’s funeral for a veteran of the country’s liberation struggle.
“Sometimes, I have conferred multiple funerals in one week. This is something we have never seen before. It has been a heart-wrenching experience, writing messages of condolences to spouses and families of deceased veterans,” Geingob said.
He said it has been painful to see so many of the country veterans lost their lives – and along with them, the country has lost a wealth of experience, expertise and stories that could enrich the country history and preserve the memory of Namibia struggle for independence.
He said Namibia has lost some of its best brains, productive citizens and nation-builders.
“We are losing a generation of elders, who possess political, cultural, ancestral, indigenous knowledge and wisdom. A vacuum has been left by Covid-19, which we must all now endeavour to fill as we heal from this devastating catastrophe,” said Geingob.
Shangula on health care workers
Meanwhile, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula applauded healthcare workers, saying that with no hesitancy, qualified Namibian youths got on the bandwagon of aiding the ministry.
“We have very youthful medical graduates – and more so, with extra needed hands, 300 of them have played an important role in boosting the healthcare system,” said Shangula.
He said when the pandemic started, the healthcare system needed extra hands, which led to the ministry roping in new graduates to join the team that was busy working tirelessly around the clock to contain the virus and spread further awareness surrounding the pandemic.
“They have been extremely useful and their level of commitment was astonishing. If it wasn’t for them, the ministry would have it very difficult,” said Shangula.
He added: “They did very well in terms of surveillance, tracing, testing, information and communication, and psychosocial support”.
He advised young healthcare professionals to not take short cuts when it comes to career choices. Get to know everything in the profession because you learn new things every day.
“Don’t forget to take into consideration that each patient has their own individual characters and with unique response to your interaction,” cautioned Shangula.