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Health ministry probes baby deaths

2022-08-15  Victoria Kaapanda

Health ministry probes baby deaths

OSHAKATI - The health ministry says it will follow normal procedures in investigating the deaths of two babies, who lost their lives after being immunised at a State clinic in Ongwediva four weeks ago.

It is reported that the infants were vaccinated at the Eluwa clinic at Ongwediva between 18 and 22 July this year.

It is alleged that one of the babies died at Oshakati a few hours after immunisation, while the other died five days after being vaccinated.

Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe said the ministry has procedures in place to deal with natural and unnatural deaths that are reported at health facilities. 

“In cases where an adverse event or death may occur following immunisation, the adverse event following the immunisation procedure is initiated. All healthcare workers at vaccination sites are trained on how this is triggered,” he noted.

He added that it would be most imprudent, in the absence of confirmation of a death or other adverse event, to pre-empt scientific investigations that must be conducted to confirm the causes of death of a patient.

Councillors in northern Namibia have been calling for people to get vaccinated, but after the incident, people are in fear.

One woman, who was speaking on a radio call-in programme, requested the ministry to provide the exact cause of the two babies’ deaths.

“We want the answer as soon as possible for us to get vaccinated,” she stated.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila launched the National Integrated Vaccination campaign, which started countrywide and runs from 8 to 19 August 2022. 

“The campaign will cover children between nine months and under five years for measles and rubella, and other routine vaccinations,” said the ministry.

The ministry explained that the aim is to prevent childhood diseases such as polio, diarrhoea, whooping cough and others.

Children who are found to be suffering from malnutrition will be provided with vitamin A as well as ready-to-use therapeutic foods. 

Additionally, women of childbearing age will be offered tetanus toxoid vaccination and iron supplements. 

At the same time, vaccination against Covid-19 will be offered to persons aged 12 years and above.

Members of the public are urged to make use of this opportunity in order to avert possible diseases.


2022-08-15  Victoria Kaapanda

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