While government continues to urge all Namibians to get vaccinated against the deadly Covid-19, Zambezi only has two fixed vaccination points and three mobile teams to cover the entire region.
Over 90 000 people live in the Zambezi region, about 4% of Namibia's population.
The population is mostly composed of subsistence farmers who make their living on the banks of the Zambezi, Kwando, Linyanti and Chobe rivers.
By 28 July 2021, the national Covid-19 update shows that the region has only administered 2 956 people with the first dose of Sinopharm and AstraZeneca, while only 1 242 people received their second dose of the same vaccines.
Zambezi recorded a total cumulative confirmed Covid-19 cases of 2 596 and 105 deaths.
In an interview with New Era yesterday, Zambezi health director Agnes Mwilima said to be able to reach herd immunity, the region needs all 30 state health facilities and six private facilities in the region to vaccinate people.
At the moment, she said the region has no stock of AstraZeneca. In fact, the country has mostly run out of the vaccine and only Sinopharm is available after receiving 250 000 in mid-July.
She added the vaccination campaign is done through the local radio, visitations to offices and by traditional authorities.
“There is a need for more staff and vehicles to be able to cover the whole region with the message. The region started with one fixed vaccination point and two mobile teams. Currently, we have the Katima Mulilo State Hospital and Enkehaus Private Hospital and three mobile teams. We need 15 outreach teams. We are campaigning with statistical information against the social media myths,” Mwilima noted.
o assist the situation, she said the NIP laboratory responsible for testing was engaged to look into the Impalila community's request to have a testing centre for them as they are cut off due to the nature of the flood-prone areas they live in.
Another issue Mwilima raised is that the region has no ICU (intensive care unit).
According to her, patients in critical conditions are managed in the 16-bed isolation unit with all the other patients.
“Bed capacity is fluctuating. There are times when we are full above capacity where we are forced to use other available wards like the old training centre and the maternity waiting shelter. The ministry at head office secured oxygen cylinders but we have not yet received them in the region. We also received 59 hospital beds. We have one oxygen tank which has become small due to the increased demand for oxygen,” she lamented.
Mwilima attributed the increase of coronavirus cases in the Zambezi region to non-compliance with the regulations that were instituted to curb the spread.
She called on residents to avoid public gatherings, adding the virus does not move, people who move spread the virus.
“Get vaccinated to boost your immune system. Vaccines reduce the chance of hospitalisation and death. Vaccines are safe. Please get vaccinated,” Mwilima implored.