KEETMANSHOOP- !Nami#Nus constituency councillor Susan Ndjaleka said members of the community and health workers started a strategic vaccination awareness campaign in Lüderitz to convince more residents to get the jab.
She told New Era this when asked about the status of their Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“The aim here is to educate our citizens on the importance and benefits of getting vaccinated,’’ she noted.
A total of 2 292 eligible residents in the !Nami#Nus constituency received their first doses of vaccines while 688 received their second dose, resulting in a total of 2 980 residents having been vaccinated by 14 July 2021. The campaign kicked off on 24 April 2021, whilst there are still vaccines available to continue with the campaign.
Ndjaleka described the biggest challenge in the coastal town in terms of curbing the further spread of the coronavirus as that of residents in informal settlements not being able to go into self-isolation after being in close contact with those who may have tested positive for the coronavirus.
‘’Most of these people are living in shacks, which are not compliant with Covid-19 health standards for isolation/quarantine purposes due to a lack of ablution facilities and proper ventilation,’’ she explained. Ndjaleka added that it is worrisome that the turnout of people getting vaccinated is so low in the constituency.
“Our greatest obstacle is that of negative and wrong information being spread on social media and within the community about vaccinations, making people reluctant to get their jabs,’’ she lamented.
Another contributing factor is that of community members, especially in the informal settlements, fearing that the information they provide to health workers might not be kept confidential.
The councillor revealed that her office is also in negotiations with private sector players in the town to refurbish the old TB hospital into an isolation centre.
“I do not want to divulge more on this matter, but can confirm that we have already placed 17 beds in the hospital with the aim of expanding,’’ Ndjaleka added.
Furthermore, her office and other governmental stakeholders are lobbying the business fraternity to provide medical equipment for the envisaged isolation centre.
The politician added that on the positive side, they are now making use of unoccupied Namdeb buildings in the town to address the need for accommodation for patients who need to isolate, whilst those more fortunate are staying under self/home isolation if needed to do so.
‘’The only way we can fight this invisible enemy is when we as residents of the !Nami#Nus constituency change our mindset and attitudes about getting vaccinated, and join hands in all other aspects,’’ Ndjaleka continued.
There are 222 Covid-19 active cases in the constituency (Lüderitz and Aus), of which six patients are in mandatory isolation, with another 46 in self-isolation.