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Govt scales up its response to pandemic

2020-09-10  Loide Jason

Govt scales up its response to pandemic
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Government through the ministry of health has constructed eight isolation facilities across the country since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. 
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula told parliamentarians this week the ministry has also modified 15 existing facilities to create additional capacity to prepare and respond to the prevailing pandemic. 

The isolation facilities were constructed in Windhoek, Opuwo, Oshakati, Rundu, Okongo, Gobabis, Keetmanshoop and Walvis Bay. 
“We have converted or retrofitted some health facilities to create additional capacity to prepare and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. 
These include Windhoek Central Hospital Casualty, Katutura TB Ward, Robert Mugabe clinic, staff accommodation at Hosea Kutako International Airport, renovation of the East Wing of the Katutura Hospital Nurses’ Home, garages and general ward at the Walvis Bay State Hospital, general ward at Swakopmund State Hospital, Tamariskia clinic, ablution facilities at Henties Bay Youth Centre, general ward at Omaruru State Hospital, Ward 8 at Oshakati State Hospital, facilities at Oshikango Border Post, Nyangana, and Andara – Popa Falls Malaria Camp. 

Renovations are ongoing at the Keetmanshoop hospital, Outapi hospital and Onandjokwe hospital,” Shangula pointed out. 
Shangula added the ministry has managed the risk of imported cases through an analysis of the likely origin and routes of travellers. 
“We have put in place measures to rapidly detect and manage suspected cases among travellers, including the capacity to quarantine individuals arriving from areas with community transmission, and cleaning and disinfection of the environment at points of entry and onboard conveyance,” he said. 
He also said the health authorities were able to print and distribute screening forms for travellers and several meetings were conducted to address challenges concerning truck drivers transporting essential goods and services. 

“To respond effectively to the pandemic, it is important to have adequate laboratory testing capacity to manage large-scale testing for Covid-19 domestically, through public, private and three academic laboratories. The testing capacity in Namibia has been increasing progressively with the collaboration of various laboratory services providers and agencies across the county,” he maintained. 
There are currently four testing laboratories in the country certified to test Covid-19 samples. 

Regarding the Covid-19 treatment drug, remdesivir, Shangula explained the antiviral medicine was procured to enhance early recovery from Covid-19. 
The drug has been globally touted as making a difference in the management of severe Covid-19 cases, and it was first issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration in May after a study showed it shortened recovery time in Covid-19 patients. 
“This medicine has become part of our arsenal in the treatment of Covid-19. Namibia has also signed up and is participating in the COVAX process, a collaboration under the auspices of World Health Organisation (WHO) and GAVI for the development of vaccines to position ourselves favourably in accessing vaccines against Covid-19 when it becomes available,” he added. 

The minister noted the measures that Namibia has taken, though painful, are starting to show positive outcomes. 
“We are now observing that the number of a new infection is showing a downward trend. I must, however, point out that the battle has not yet been won and we must redouble our efforts to defeat Covid-19. We are also called upon to accept the fact that Covid-19 will be with us for a long time and we must adjust to the new normal.”

2020-09-10  Loide Jason

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