First Lady Monica Geingos has implored Namibians to be kind to one another.
She said it is important, especially during Covid-19, since everyone is experiencing some type of trauma and the overwhelming feeling she has right now is empathy.
The office of the First Lady has embarked on a campaign, titled ‘Love protects’, to amplify the health ministry’s message on the virus, and challenging misinformation and the ‘disinfodemic’ by engaging with health experts to discuss various matters concerning the novel coronavirus.
“We all react differently to trauma but the one way we should always try and front load is to be kind to ourselves and towards each other,” she passionately stated.
Geingos added: “If we are sincere about the support of healthcare workers, then all of us need to realise that Covid-19 is not fought in hospitals. It is fought in our homes, societies and our mindsets, so we must all adopt a mindset that fights Covid-19, where we use love as a protection shield”.
In an interview with New Era, she urged Namibians to be cautious when disseminating information on the virus.
“There are different kinds of people who spread information – those who do it on the disinformation side with the intent to mislead – and on the misinformation side, those who have read and think it is from experts and share out of genuine concern,” she noted.
Geingos, who recently recovered from Covid-19, noted that not everyone who is vaccine-hesitant does it with malicious intent and they want to know what the truth is. She also urged Namibians to refrain from blaming one another.
“I know of people who have been blamed by family members for spreading the virus and causing deaths. Our society has been torn apart – the mental health fallout is here already. Once you have contracted Covid-19, there is nothing else you can do – and there is always this feeling of powerlessness, so it is important to focus on what you can control,” she stated.
Geingos said, “blaming somebody is focusing on something you can’t control because the event has already happened. If you are traumatised, seek professional help. I don’t want families breaking up through blaming each other, and this is happening at all levels and people react differently to trauma but you need to understand that everyone is traumatised”.
She said anyone who has a platform at the leadership level, whom people listen to, should look out for the wellbeing of the people they serve, as there is a need to go back to normalcy and one of the ways is through the encouragement of getting people vaccinated.
“Namibia cannot afford to go through wave after wave while there is a solution. Nobody wants Namibians dying. Even if we disagree on information that is out there, let’s compile the credible information, discuss it with experts and take informed views and protect the masses,” added Geingos.
She encouraged people to do thorough research before informing or educating others on the virus, especially the older generation, who might not be familiar with certain terms, which leads to one having to explain in vernacular terms.
She said the fight against the pandemic should not be discriminatory and the accessibility of information should be to everyone, as there is a need to cater to most – if not all – through vernacular languages, as well as to individuals in refugee camps and undocumented migrants.