KEETMANSHOOP – Members from different government institutions gathered in Keetmanshoop this week to brainstorm and establish an inter-ministerial task force that can deal in a proactive manner with the current coronavirus pandemic.
//Kharas chief medical officer Dr Refanus Kooper explained that the meeting was mainly on how to deal with the virus if it spreads to the region and what prevention and precautionary measures be put in place to protect residents.
“We as a region and the whole of the country at large must be able to prove the World Health Organisation wrong that states that Namibia won’t be able to manage an outbreak of this pandemic should it occur in the country,” he said.
“People suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure are amongst those who are more prone to get infected with the virus. You should at all times ensure that your children stay indoors as a precautionary measure since schools were closed for them to be self-quarantined.”
The medical professional further informed stakeholders that the Covid-19 virus has an incubation period of 14 days in the human body whereafter it can develop into illness within five to six days, depending on the strength of the person’s immune system. He further called on those who travel outside the country to, if feeling sick upon their return, see a doctor for consultation and possible screening should their health condition deteriorate.
“Plans are in the pipeline to establish a coronavirus centre at Keetmanshoop state hospital to provide more efficient and effective services when dealing with the pandemic,” he said.
Kooper called on various stakeholders to come on board and assist the ministry with resources in order to do the required alterations and additions to the area identified to serve as the centre.
Kooper also urged representatives of line ministries present to identify one person whose name be submitted to his office as soon as possible. “We want to set up an inter-ministerial task force that can deal with the pandemic whereby the first meeting should take place by next week Friday,” he explained.
Anne Möller, a senior environmental health practitioner, said although clinics at the Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei border posts only operate from 08h00 until 17h00, health workers are still visiting the facilities after hours to screen people when they enter the country.
“To supplement staff shortages at these clinics the ministry has recruited additional staff in addition to temporarily transfer health workers from other district health facilities to assist in this regard,” she explained. “A lack of accommodation is however a challenge the ministry is experiencing at these clinics and we are humbly calling on line ministries to assist us in this regard.”
In terms of the isolation and quarantine of suspected cases, she told stakeholders that an outreach truck is stationed at the Noordoewer border post for this purpose. “This truck consists of two rooms with proper sanitation facilities.”