by Charmaine Ngatjiheue and Victoria Wolf

THE Ministry of Health and Social Services has appointed 2 627 more workers to help in the fight against Covid-19 as more healthcare workers test positive for the virus.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services has appointed 2 627 more workers to help in the fight against Covid-19. Photo: Contributed

As of Tuesday, 229 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus.

“We have appointed various categories of people for Covid-19. As the number of cases increases and some health workers are quarantined or isolated, they have to be substituted,” minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula said on Monday.

He said of the healthcare workers infected, 161 (70%) are working in the public sector and 68 (30%) in the private sector.

Of the total number of infected healthcare workers, 151 (66%) are recorded in Khomas region, and 47 (21%) in the Erongo region.

Other regions with healthcare workers who are infected include Hardap, //Kharas, Kavango East, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa and Zambezi regions.

The country currently has 6 160 confirmed cases with 2 732 recoveries, 2 271 active cases and 59 deaths.

“At the front, middle and rear of this battle against Covid-19 are the frontline workers. With the increasing number of Covid-19 cases and even deaths in Namibia, as witnessed in the past days and weeks, the workload of our frontline workers has increased correspondingly,” Shangula said.

In a statement to healthcare workers on Heroes’ Day yesterday, the minister said frontline workers have shown unparalleled dedication in caring for sick people despite limited time and energy.

“During this time of an unprecedented challenge and threat, all our healthcare and all frontline workers, from different professional categories, stand as heroes and heroines of our nation. They are not immune to this dreadful disease,” he said.

Shangula urged all Namibians to show the necessary respect and support to these dedicated professionals.

“We understand the worries and fears of their families. They work long hours and are physically and emotionally drained. These are indeed trying times, calling for greater dedication,” he said.

The minister said all Namibians should play their part to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic by adhering to regulations.

President Hage Geingob also paid tribute to frontline healthcare workers yesterday.

“These brave men and women are our bulwark against the invisible enemy, and we salute the immense sacrifices they are making to save Namibian lives, while sometimes foregoing their own safety,” he said.

He lauded Shangula and his team for their leadership and foresight during the crisis.

“I also applaud church leaders, NGOs, workers, the private sector, and all Namibians for our unity, resolve and resoluteness … we will prevail despite Covid-19,” he said.

The World Health Organisation’s country representative, Charles Sagoe-Moses, in the latest Covid-19 situation report for Namibia said the country has inadequate medical officers, specialists and epidemiologists, especially in the regions, to address Covid-19.

He said the recommendation is that technical experts from other sectors join the health sector in its response to the pandemic.

“As the health system is faced with inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), the logistics pillar should continue with the procurement and distribution of sufficient PPE to the regions to ensure that response is not interrupted,” Sagoe-Moses said.

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