More than N$12 million was handed over to the Ministry of Health and Social Services on 29 April as part of private sector companies pledging their support to Namibia’s Vaccine Roll-out Plan 2021. This was in response to the government’s request for local businesses to come together to fund one-third of the costs of the vaccine, which will be distributed free of charge to all Namibians.
The funds in the Vaccines for Hope account will be used to buy vaccines directly from suppliers, and cover the logistical costs of distributing and managing the vaccine roll-out. The assistance from Namibian companies has been noteworthy, as many who could not contribute towards the procurement of vaccines assisted by funding and/or supplying much-needed medical supplies such as cotton, needles and syringes – all vital components in the overall vaccination process.
On the eve of Namibia’s MOHSS receiving and rolling out Covid vaccines, more than 50 companies and individuals met on 1 March this year to discuss the way forward to ensure vaccines get to vulnerable Namibians across the country. The informal private sector coalition met specifically to support government with ‘in kind’ and cash pledges for logistical expenses related to a successful roll-out of the much-anticipated vaccines. While some companies donated much- needed funds, others such as the Luderitz Nest Hotel and C’est Si Bon in Otjiwarongo contributed towards accommodation and meals, which gesture was highly valued.
Hosted by the HOPE Fund (Health Optimisation in a Pandemic Emergency) established in 2020 by FirstRand Namibia, the coalition of skills, logistical support and financial investments offered by the interested parties is intended to add practical value to the MOHSS plan.
At the handover, deputy minister of health and social services Ester Muinjangue said this was a re-affirmation of the private sector’s assistance towards ministerial efforts to provide integrated, affordable and accessible quality healthcare and social services responsive to the needs of the population. “Representatives of the coalition on Vaccine for Hope, please accept our sincere gratitude on behalf of the people of Namibia, the ministry of health and the Namibian government”, she added.
Marking its commitment to protecting and empowering Namibians, STANLIB Namibia also donated funds to the Vaccines for Hope Coalition Project. “As a Namibian entity, we are keen to play our part to combat the spread of Covid-19 and reduce the impact of the pandemic on the economy,” said STANLIB Namibia managing director Taimi Shejavali. This is a fund to which every Namibian business can contribute to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for our precious nation. STANLIB Namibia wants to remain relevant and add value in every sphere within its power. That’s why we made an in-kind contribution in May last year, and again this year”, she noted.
Allan Gray Namibia also contributed to the fund, stating that they are committed to providing support to this and other important initiatives in the fight against COVID-19 and its consequences.
Hollard acknowledged that the 2019 severe drought led the President to declare a state of emergency in Namibia, but little did they know that as a country, 2020 would impose another state of emergency on nations around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on livelihoods. In recognition of the pain and disruption caused by Covid-19, it provided premium discounts to its clients, and its N$ 5 million contribution to the Vaccines for Hope Coalition Project was in addition to that relief. For their part,
Old Mutual advised that while they respected the individual’s freedom of choice, they wished to encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated. “The fact is we’re in it together, and we all have an important role to play in helping to reduce the severity and scale of the pandemic. By choosing to vaccinate today, we are protecting our tomorrow,” said Ndangi Katoma, Executive: Marketing, Communications and Customer Strategy aty Old Mutual.
Eino Emvula, Ninety One’s managing director for Namibia and Africa-ex-SA, said COVID-19 had led to the biggest global economic contraction in living memory, which has wreaked havoc on communities the world over. “While the battle against the virus and its severe economic consequences will be with us for some time, it is in this environment that we as individuals, communities, Government and business must stand together to eradicate this threat, and rebuild our societies together. As a global business, a core part of Ninety One’s philosophy involves caring for the communities in which we
We believe a successful vaccine rollout will provide the quickest route to Namibia’s economic recovery and future prosperity”, he added.
Warren Kozonguizi from Liberty Life Namibia indicated that in order to show solidarity in the current environment, the business adopted the “Let’s stay together by staying apart” slogan. “This became a slogan of encouragement to our clients at Liberty Life Namibia as the coronavirus entered our country. It is no secret that this year has raised our everyday anxieties, impacted our mental health, our businesses, and personal finances. More importantly, the presence of COVID-19 has magnified the significant role that families play within our communities. While we continue to stay apart, we encourage the public to ensure that they are protected from this deadly virus by getting vaccinated - in the hope that we may be together again”, he stressed.