by Tuyeimo Haidula

THE United Nations Population Fund office in Namibia handed over personal protective equipment to the health ministry for its workers on Monday.

FOR THE HEALTH WORKERS … The United Nations Population Fund country representative in Namibia Dennia Gayle and health minister Kalumbi Shangula. Photo: Contributed.

UNFPA country representative Dennia Gayle said the equipment is in support of government’s ongoing efforts to protect health workers and to respond to president Hage Geingob’s call for all stakeholders to hold hands in the spirit of Harambee to collectively respond to and defeat this pandemic in Namibia.

The donation, worth N$2 883 132 includes personal protective equipment (PPE) for more than 18 000 health workers which includes gloves, disposable gowns, surgical respirators, head covers, shoe covers and googles.

Gayle said the organisation wants the ministry’s workers, particularly the many women who are at the centre of the UNFPA programme of work in Namibia, to be fully equipped to deliver much needed Covid-19-related services, and other essential health services that must not be compromised because of this pandemic.

“The cases are increasing, but in fact this is not the time to crumble and retrieve; instead this is the time to redouble our decisive efforts and intensify our adherence to the measures put in place. Finding the right balance between saving lives and livelihoods is not an easy task, but rest assured that UNFPA as part of the larger UN family in Namibia will remain committed and steadfast in our support to you in your response to Covid-19,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) country representative Rachel Odede, said although the government is taking various actions to contain and mitigate the pandemic, these actions must be accompanied by additional steps to counter unintended effects on children.

Odede said it is particularly important to prioritise continuity of child-centred services, like schooling, nutrition programmes, maternal and newborn care, immunisation services, sexual and reproductive health services, HIV treatment, mental health and psychosocial services.

“We also need to ensure that children, adolescents and young people have access to Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines, as and when they become available,” she said.

Odede said the pandemic is a test of the country’s solidarity within local communities, the scientific research community, and the community of nations. Health minister Kalumbi Shangula said the donation is welcome because it complements government efforts.

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