by Hileni Nembwaya

HEALTHCARE workers in the northern regions are increasingly getting infected with Covid-19, as the virus takes a toll on the frontline workers.

Image used for illustrative purposes.

The coronavirus has so far infected more 20 healthcare workers in the northern regions, placing a great strain on the already fragile healthcare services in the communities.

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Services Covid-19 daily updates, Ohangwena region has so far recorded six health care workers infected with Covid-19, Oshana recorded eight, Omusati recorded five, and Oshikoto has recorded four.

Among those infected are nurses, doctors and institutional workers. No deaths have been reported yet, however.

Some nurses at Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital in Oshikoto region, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Namibian that their lives are at great risk of contracting the deadly virus, as they are forced to attend to patients without personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We are attending to patients daily without PPE. Masks and hand gloves are not enough for everyone, and sometimes we bring our own masks to work because we are afraid of getting infected. We have noticed that it is only the nurses and doctors who are working at the isolation wards that are being provided with the PPE, but what about us on the floor, attending to patients coming from the communities? We all need to be protected before this virus kills us,” said a nurse who preferred to remain anonymous.

Oshakati hospital superintendent Vizcaya Korbinian Amutenya said most of the confirmed Covid-19 cases of healthcare workers result from community-based transmission and direct contact.

“Our work environment is secured and we have put in place all health protective measures for our healthcare workers. Most of these cases have been contracted through community-based transmission. They have not contracted this virus while at the workplaces. All our healthcare workers have been provided with PPEs,” he said.

Onandjokwe superintendent Akutu Munyika could not be reached for comment.

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