Council to revive Ramatex Covid-19 project

Staff Writer

A DAY after the coalition of political parties that runs the city Council of Windhoek signed a cooperation agreement, Mayor Job Amupanda has announced that the council will turn part of Ramatex complex into a Covid-19 facility.

This is despite Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula shoting down the idea this June as not viable or sustainable. In a social media post this morning, Amupanda wrote: “Inform president Dr Hage Geingob, as he prepares his Covid-19 address that the City of Windhoek leadership last night took a decision that Ramatex will now have a Covid-19 facility.”

President Geingob yesterday delivered the 33rd Covid-19 public briefing on the national response measures where he said the incidence curve was showing a downward trajectory, with the number of new infections, hospitalisations and deaths steadily declining. “We are emboldened by the signs of hope that are now evident around us. This shows that we can turn the tide and overcome the worst that this pandemic brought to our country. We must do all that we can to sustain this positive trajectory,” the President says.

Geingob urges Namibians to get vaccinated, saying the national vaccination rate for fully vaccinated persons increased from 1,8 percent two-weeks ago, to 2,7 percent coverage. “Those who received the first dose increased from 6,1 percent to 7,1 percent, over the same period. A total of 71 158 Namibians are now fully vaccinated.”

“At the current absorption rate of approximately 3 250 doses administered daily, we are falling behind in reaching our herd immunity target of vaccinating 1,5 million eligible Namibians or 60 percent of the population, by 31 March 2022.”

“These targets will not be realized without the full cooperation of the public. I therefore reiterate my call for all eligible Namibians to get fully vaccinated.”

In his social media post, Amupanda says a team led by former Health Minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku, and Founding Dean of the Unam School of Medicine, Professor Peter Nyarango, is at work on the project. The project to turn the Rhino Garments Factory into a 500-bed centre for Covid-19 treatment, was the brainchild of Haufiku who was removed from the Covid-19 response team last year for appearing to clash with Shangula. “When the project was appraised by the Government, it was found to be not viable nor sustainable,” Shangula said updating the nation on the Covid-19 situation previously.

The Covid-19 cases spiked in the country with the Third Wave, resulting in Khomas healthcare facilities recording more than 1 000 cases a day.

The President says cumulative infections in the country now stand at 122,097, with a national recovery rate of 91 percent and a case fatality rate of 2.7 percent. “With a 52 percent reduction in new cases countrywide, we are pleased to record more recoveries than new infections, with15 188 recoveries recorded over the last two-week period.”

“This is a clear sign of effective suppression of the transmission of new infections. The number of deaths due to Covid-19 and related illnesses, have also declined over the period from 500 to 205 deaths.”

Back to the Ramatex initiative, Shangula says the private health sector pulled out of the proposed project due to lack of funds and the Government opted for additional bed capacity within existing hospitals.

Chairperson of the Private Hospitals Association, Esme Botes, says in January, private hospitals were trying their best to accommodate Covid-19 patients, despite the overwhelming numbers. Botes adds that the four private hospitals in Windhoek, Rhino Park; Lady Pohamba; Mediclinic and Roman Catholic, sometimes sent patients to state hospitals when there is an overflow.

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