Since the first cases of Covid-19 were detected in Namibia, there has been a number of misconceptions about the virus and to this day, some individuals continue to downplay the existence of this virulent pandemic.
During this entire ordeal, health workers have been at the forefront as they pledged to assist communities, whilst at the same time risk contracting the coronavirus themselves.
Ruben Appolus, an emergency vehicle driver and James Pieters, an emergency care practitioner are health workers based at Aranos Health Centre. Both had tested positive for Covid-19 and shared their experiences on surviving the virus.
The pair said before they were tested, they suffered from symptoms such as severe headaches, flu, coughing, and loss of appetite, loss of sense of smell, body pain and weakness.
Pieters who works in the ambulance division, tested positive after attending to a Covid-19 positive patient in April. “My life changed drastically, my way of doing things changed, I could not move freely, I was in isolation for 15 days and it completely affected my system, I had to be by myself away from my family and I had to go through a lot by myself,” said Pieters.
Appolus tested positive in July and suspects that he contracted the virus after attending funerals of family members. He lost a sister on 18 June and 10 days later, his nephew died from Covid-19 complications on 28 June.
According to him, testing positive for Covid-19 placed him in a difficult position. “Some people were discriminating against me because I had the virus,” said Appolus.
He, therefore, encouraged everyone to follow the regulations set up by government in order to defeat the virus.
Appolus and Pieters form part of the Hardap Risk Communication, Community Engagement and Social Mobilisation Committee.
Throughout their ordeal, the two health workers said they gained strength and commitment to continue sharing relevant information to prevent further loss of lives.
The health workers further encouraged the community to wear their masks, sanitise their hands, and practice social distance and most of all to stay at home, because they do not want anyone else to lose their lives.
“There is always fear in the background even though we don’t show it, because there is always a possibility of reinfection and for one to get sick again, but we still continue with our work,” said Pieters.
“That is why we should not stop emphasising that people cooperate. At the end of the day, we are not only doing it for an income, but we also want to see our fellow community members healthy. I want to encourage others to bring their side and if possible, get vaccinated, because together we will have a healthy Namibia,” he added.