RUNDU – Kavango East and West regions have put preventive measures in place, as well as trained health workers and support staff in hospitals and districts as measures to combat coronavirus. This was revealed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services chief medical officer (CMO) for the two Kavango regions, Dr Abiola Adesina.
“To control the crowd because of the nature of the outbreak, we are utilising the space just by the hospital main gate; we have put up a tent, where people can go for screening so that they cannot enter the hospital and if they need tests, we attend to them there,” Adesina said.
According to the CMO, the only people who will enter the hospital will be those who need to be quarantined or placed in the isolation ward.
“We don’t want people to go through our OPD and only discover them after tests – and by that time, they will have come into contact with other people – that will be dangerous,” he stated. He told New Era that although the virus is known to attack the respiratory system, there are only five ventilators that will be used to cater to the two Kavango regions.
“This is an emergency response, and emergency preparedness plan is part of our responsibility; it is a contingency plan that we only activate when we have emergencies surfacing like this,” Adesina noted.
“We are working with the national plan, an appropriate response directed from the national level because it is driven by the national plan. The President has declared a state of emergency and what we are doing is implementing what is on the plan. As a region, we are ready,” he added.
The directorate of health has trained their health workers and hospital support staff and districts on Coronavirus, especially in the setup of local health facilities.
“We have also deployed our health inspectors and health officers at the identified border posts in the two Kavango regions for surveillance activities; we have analysed the situation of our facilities to see whether we are ready for emergencies. For instance, we have prepared an area for quarantine within the Rundu intermediate hospital; we have identified an isolation room, since our isolation unit is still under construction,” Adesina noted.
Last week, the ministry of health engaged stakeholders of the two Kavango regions through a meeting with the regional leadership, which also included the local authorities, regional councillors and the governor, where they formally informed them of the Covid-19 outbreak, the state of their preparedness, as well as how they are coordinating their response activities in the regions. Research suggests that the Covid-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so people need to practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow). “Health education is key and it is currently on-going with our health workers every now and then on the local radios to inform our communities about the virus and how they can take care to prevent getting exposed to the virus – the dos and don’ts,” Adesina stated.
The health directorate in the Kavango West and East assured the communities that other health programs are still running as usual, which includes the Malaria program and the voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), to name but few.
“We can’t abandon other programs; they are also critical. They are running concurrently,” he said.