by Ndanki Kahiurika
PARENTS have been advised to keep their children from prank calling the Covid-19 call centre.
This was said during a discussion at the communication centre for Covid-19 updates, in Windhoek yesterday afternoon.
Head of the Covid-19 call centre, Lineekela Kalimba said they have experienced a lot of challenges despite trying to fulfil their mandate of advising and answering questions from the public on Covid-19 related matters.
She said the centre was initially set up by the health ministry during the hepatitis E outbreak and has since upgraded to tackle future outbreaks including Covid-19.
Most volunteers manning the centre are graduates are from various fields including health.
“We have people who can speak all local indigenous languages so as to cater for all callers. We receive up to 20 000 calls per day,” she said.
Call centre agent, Gabriel Hamukwaya said their daily works requires them to be very patient and calm because some of the callers are emotional and demanding.
He said some ask why they did not get the N$750 grant.
“There are those with their own problems and those with things that are not related to Covid-19,” said Hamukwaya.
In some serious cases where people are worried about showing symptoms, Hamukwaya said, there are guidelines and one of them is making sure they list all Covid-19 symptoms to the caller in order to establish if they should go to hospital or not.
Kalimba said they collect data from all callers and this is done by the volunteers, who get information on where the caller is from, their age, among other details.
To her, the worst challenge has also been not knowing the exact location of callers with possible symptoms in order to send an ambulance with a doctor to do a swab for testing.
“We urge the public to make sure they have the correct street name and erf number so it can be easier to give directions,” she said.