Namibia received a batch of medical equipment as a donation to combat Covid-19 from the German Ministry of Defence at the Hosea Kutako International Airport today (Thursday).
The donation is from the European Union (EU) Civic Protection Mechanism and consists of 300,000 gowns, 60 care bed, 40,000 Antigen rapid test, 20,000 safety goggles, and 500,000 FFP2 masks. On receiving it, Minister of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), Kalumbi Shangula, says, “standing on the tarmac of the Hosea Kutako International Airport and witnessing the arrival of the majestic Antonov AN-225, the world’s largest aircraft ever built, carrying on board lifesaving commodities donated by the German Ministry of Defense to the people of Namibia is an emotional moment”.
Adding that, “the load in that giant bird will protect our health workforce and other essential workers who are our first and last line of defense against a disabling, life-taking virus. At the same time, I cannot help but remember with deep sadness the lives lost, not only of health care providers, but of so many of our loved ones”.
Kalumbi further confirms that the Delta variant of COVID-19, which was originally detected in India, is circulating in Namibia. “This confirmation follows genome sequencing activities carried out by the University of Namibia in collaboration with the Research Centre Borstel and the Robert Koch Institute in Germany. The arrival of this consignment today is another dimension of our collaboration with Germany”.
Moreover, Kalumbi says, the current Covid-19 wave is the most devastating the country has ever experienced since the beginning of the pandemic in March last year. “It has placed enormous strain on our health system. Health facilities in both the public and private sectors around the country have recorded the highest number of patient’s admission in our country history. At no other time in our country’s history have we witnessed such high number of hospitalisations and deaths. We are recording and reporting unprecedented numbers of deaths in our health facilities on a daily basis. Home deaths are also being reported with frequent regularity around the country,” he says,
He reiterated that, “the pandemic has exerted a heavy physical and psychological toll on health workers and other frontline line workers. These dedicated professionals are working longer hours taking care of the patients. I salute and commend all of them for their commitment to duty and selfless patriotic service to our country. Many of them have contracted COVID-19 and have fallen ill. Some have unfortunately lost their lives.”
He is grateful to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism through which the German Ministry of Defense is channeling its donation to Namibia, for its solidarity and swift response to the country’s appeal for assistance to fight the deadly third wave of COVID-19. “I want to assure everybody and in particular, Your Excellency Ambassador Herbert Beck, that the donated items will not be left in storerooms nor will it go to waste.”
Ambassador of the European Union to Namibia, Sirkka Anttila and German Ambassador, Beck, were in attendance to receive the message of gratitude.
To sum up, Kalumbi says, “The Ministry has already drafted a distribution and transportation plans to ensure it reaches the intended beneficiaries without delay” and acknowledged the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (MIRCO), Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah for her support in this endeavor, Captain and crew for bringing the “precious cargo safely to our doorsteps.”