Staff Writer

The Ministry of Health has raised concern over increasing cases of healthcare workers contracting COVID-19.

According to Ministry of Health data, 333 health care workers are currently infected with COVID-19. This comes as a healthcare worker from Swakopmund succumbed to the virus on Monday.

Health minister, Kalumbi Shangula revealed Wednesday that healthcare workers now constitute 4.2 percent of the total COVID-19 confirmed cases recorded in the country since the outbreak.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have recorded a total number of 333 health workers infected with COVID-19, which represents 4.2 percent of the total confirmed cases recorded in the general population,” he said.

Shangula said state employed health care workers have emerged as the most susceptible to contracting the virus, recording the highest number of cases at 223.

“Of the total number, 223 (67 percent) are from State and 109 (32.7 percent) are from the private health sector and 1 (0.3 percent) from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). We noticed that the number of health workers infected is high in areas with high burden of confirmed cases such as in Khomas (227) and Erongo region (51),” he said.

“Once again, the nation appreciates the contribution of our frontline workers from all sectors in the fight against this pandemic of COVID-19 and the sacrifices they are making. We continue to encourage the implementation of precautionary measures by all citizens at all times.”

The infection rate of health care workers also comes amid calls for a risk allowance to be introduced, with Shangula referring the newspaper to the Prime minister’s office when quizzed if it was under consideration.

“Please contact the Prime minister’s office regarding that,” he said.

Namibia is on a recruitment drive for more healthcare professionals as the country faces a shortage amid COVID-19 pressures.

Namibia’s cases now stand at 7,844 confirmed cases, while recoveries stand at 3,454, and with 82 deaths recorded.