The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), in conjunction with Namibia’s private sector, this week handed over the first 21 tonne tank of oxygen to the government via the health ministry.
The donation forms part of the private sector’s emergency response to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic currently ravaging the country with a high number of cases and increasing fatalities.
“The private sector, led by the NCCI, launched an immediate response to tackling the current shortage of medical oxygen to mitigate and minimise the effects of the pandemic in the country in an effort to restore supply of critical oxygen for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in our state and public health facilities,” said NCCI president Bisey /Uirab in a statement.
/Uirab added that through an assessment, spearheaded by the NCCI and supported by the health and finance ministries, the most urgent need that was identified to fight the pandemic is the supply of bulk oxygen into Namibia.
He noted that the first 21-tonne consignment load was sourced from
Kryogas and arrived on Thursday morning.
The initial tonnage of liquid oxygen will be used to fill up the bulk storage tank
at the Katatura State Hospital, with the remaining amount being distributed to
other hospitals in critically short supply.
Said /Uirab: “The NCCI continues to mobilise support from within the Namibian private sector to ensure that we are in a position to offset the shortfall through sponsorship and donations towards the
costs and logistics surrounding critical oxygen supply into our country. We are informed that as it stands the current medical oxygen shortfall in Namibia is between 150 and 180 tonnes per month. This is over
and above the capacity being provided
by the current supplier”.
The NCCI president noted that they
have cooperated with other key players to work out a strategy on how to ensure the oxygen shortfall is eliminated and that it is delivered and distributed to the most-needy hospitals and facilities in the fastest turn-around time.
“I wish here to commend the cooperation established between Afrox and the South African and Namibian company Kryogas. Kryogas was able to secure significant volumes of liquid oxygen from the Air Products facility in Johannesburg,” said
/Uirab. He added that the turn-around time for each truck carrying oxygen ISO
containers is expected to be one week, meaning the consortium of suppliers will be in a position to provide additional trucks on a weekly cycle. He noted the private sector has committed itself to continue the same supply every week delivery up to the end of September. The first 20-tonne consignment of oxygen, which on yesterday has been fully sponsored Namdeb. Innovaite, a private sector logistics company, carried out all of the clearing, forwarding and logistics associated with this consignment, and will continue to do so for all future consignments. Their contribution is entirely pro bono. The NCCI and B2Gold, through the Chamber of Mines, are coordinating the logistics on behalf of the coalition.
“We are approaching other large private sector companies to sponsor all future
weekly loads from Afrox and Kryogas Namibia with the objective of entirely eliminating the shortfall of oxygen in the country,” stated MD of B2Gold Namibia Mark Dawe. It is envisaged that the private sector’s support will contribute towards strengthening the country’s health care delivery system and provide an added impetus to joint efforts in the fight against the pandemic. Meanwhile, /Uirab continued that the private sector initiative aims to dismantle the negative publicity around Covid vaccinations and to lead the drive to vaccinate the entire population as soon as possible. “We encourage people to take vaccinations as provided by the government. We also call upon the populace to adhere to the laid down Covid-19 protocols in order to slow down the infection rate,” /Uirab concluded.