• July 13th, 2020

Corridor chief wants more health facilities at borders

Steven Klukowski

Government should prioritise setting up wellness centres for truck drivers at Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei border posts to curb the spread of Covid-19. Hippy Tjivikua, the CEO of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, the centre promoting regional trade, expressed this sentiment.
Tjivikua expressed these sentiments last week when he visited the Noordoewer Border Post, where he engaged multi-sectoral stakeholders in the //Kharas region in southern Namibia.

 “There are currently no wellness facilities in place for truck drivers at these two border posts and the time to act is now,” the corridor CEO strongly emphasised. Tjivikua said Namibia should strive to adopt good practices from neighbouring countries as an effort to fight this invisible enemy, coronavirus, and that having health facilities in place at border posts could help contain the virus for which there is no known vaccine or cure.

He further urged the //Kharas regional management to identify places where truck drivers can make stops, apart from truck ports, when travelling on Namibian national roads. 
In terms of Covid-19 test results, he suggested Namibian health authorities should put measures in place to expedite the availability of these test results. 

“At the Botswana border post, truck drivers are tested on the spot, whilst test results are available within two-three hours as opposed to our situation where they are tested at the nearest isolation centre and results are available only after 72 hours,” noted the executive head of the corridor group.

He suggested that the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) should set up testing laboratories at the two remaining opened border posts and find ways to expedite the test results of the virus.
Tjivikua said if truck drivers are delayed for longer times, it can become costly for transport operating companies, who will then pass on losses to the consumer. As a possible solution, he urged authorities to ponder the possibility of diverting more resources to rail transport in delivering essential goods and services at this stage of Covid-19. 

“Not only can trains take more load but it will also reduce the number of manpower involved in transporting these goods,” the CEO reasoned.
Speaking at the same occasion, //Kharas chief regional officer Beatus Kasete explained that council has approached private companies for assistance to set up wellness centres at the two border posts, whereby the Anglo-America Foundation has already heeded to the call.  “They have availed an amount of N$3.4 million for the construction of these health facilities, including medical equipment and furniture at the Noordoewer-and-Ariamsvlei border posts,” he said. Kasete added these facilities will accommodate patients for purposes of isolation, whilst screening of visitors will be done at the entrance.  “Construction of these two facilities is expected to be finalised by the end of June this year in order to comply with the new Covid-19 standard operating procedures coming into effect in the country very soon,” concluded Kasete.
During the two-day meetings at the border posts, stakeholders were in unison, saying all practical and workable solutions will be looked into and implemented as a matter of urgency.
 – sklukowski@nepc.com.na

Staff Reporter
2020-06-03 09:50:25 | 1 months ago

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