Tujoromajo Kasuto

THE United States (US) government has donated 70 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds worth more than N$700,000.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) will distribute the beds to eight health facilities, specifically Katutura, Rundu, Oshakati and Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospitals, Gobabis, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Katima Mulilo. During the third Covid-19 wave, many health facilities did not have enough beds to meet the demand. ICU beds, in particular, are important in supporting Covid-19 patients in respiratory distress as they can be adjusted to various positions and help patients breathe when experiencing respiratory distress.

The beds were procured by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the EQUIP Project managed by the South African nonprofit organization “Right to Care”.

“These state-of-the art ICU beds will help improve Namibia’s Covid-19 and non-Covid clinical case management,” says USAID Country Representative, McDonald Homer.

The US government will also ship an additional 200 emergency field beds to Namibia, which Namibian Ambassador to the US, Margaret Mensah-Williams, sourced through the NGO “Project C.U.R.E.” based in Denver, Colorado. USAID has worked with “Project C.U.R.E.” on numerous other projects in the past, and the US government is excited to facilitate the transportation of these additional beds to quickly respond to possible future surges in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, USAID Country Representative for Namibia is calling on all Namibians to get vaccinated: “Getting the population vaccinated is key to curbing Covid-19, which has already cost so many lives. Vaccines reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and death,” says McDonald Homer.

Homer further notes that the donation of the beds should not encourage people to be careless but to get vaccinated as they do not want to use them and can avoid this by “simply by getting your jab”.

“So, once again, please help the country and the world control and eventually end this pandemic,” he adds, acknowledging that Namibia’s infection rate and patient numbers are currently at an encouraging low while the vaccination rate is also corncerningly low and there is the possibility of a fourth Covid wave, which could even be worse than the last one.

The Executive Director of MOHSS,, Ben Nangombe, and Deputy Minister Esther Muinjangue, received the donations on behalf of the ministry, with Miss Margaret Mensah-Williams, Namibia’s Ambassador to the United States, joining virtually.

From the beginning of the pandemic, the US government has been supporting the MOHSS in its Covid-19 response. To date, the US has provided more than N$250 million to this cause in Namibia, and donated over 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Namibia’s cumulative confirmed Covid-19 cases currently stand at 128 395 with a 97 percent recovery rate, with 869 active cases and vaccination coverage currently stands at 19.5 percent of the total population for those who have received their 1st dose, while 15 percent of the population, today, is fully vaccinated.