Namibia working towards acquiring vaccine
Certain measures remain unchanged
25 February 2021 | Health
Dr Kalumbi Shangula; Health minister; “Let each and every one of us do our part ...”
The minister of health and social services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, said that Namibia is hard at work to ensure that sufficient doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are secured and acquired.
“Vaccination is an important tool in our arsenal against this pandemic. By protecting priority demographics such as frontline workers, vulnerable populations and the elderly, we will ensure that our health system is able to provide care as required.”
The minister said they have made progress in preparation of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. “Not only have we initiated the process of procurement through mechanisms such as the COVAX Facility and the Africa Medicines Supply Platform (AMSP) of the African Union, we have also completed the National Covid-19 Deployment and Vaccination Plan.
“Like other countries, Namibia submitted its plan for international scrutiny and review by the World Health Organisation (WHO). I am proud to say that the WHO found Namibia’s Deployment and Vaccination Plan to be among the best in the world. The WHO has therefore decided to recommend it as a template to countries that have not yet completed their Deployment and Vaccination Plans.”
Namibia is also working with the AMSP to procure additional doses of Covid-19 vaccines, the minister said. “This week all 35 districts, the private health sector, the Ministry of Home Affair, Immigration, Safety and Security and partners are refining district deployment plans for implementation. This will be followed by Training of Trainers and district staff training in early March.”
Shangula said that the proposed budget for Namibia Deployment and Vaccination Plan is approximately N$583 million, of which N$484.8 million is for actual procurement. “This will enable Namibia to procure vaccines for an additional 40% of the population to attain a 60% vaccination coverage. China has pledged to donate 100 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. Additionally, India has pledged to donate 30 000 doses of the vaccine from the Serum Institute of India. The COVAX Facility allocated doses of vaccines to Namibia which are expected in March 2021.”
NEW VARIANT, REGULATIONS
The minister said that scientists have collected and submitted samples for gene sequencing to determine whether the new variant (B.1.351) originally detected in South Africa, is present in Namibia. “According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases of South Africa, the results of these tests will be available next week.
In other news, Shangula said that the regulation pertaining to the wearing of masks, public gatherings and alcohol sales remain unchanged. However, liquor may be sold and purchased on Sundays and Public Holidays by guests booked in or staying at establishments such as hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfast facilities and casinos.
“In the case of boarding schools, out-weekends are suspended in schools were cases of Covid-19 have been detected or are suspected.”
He said that restrictions related to entry into Namibia, quarantine and Covid-19 testing as well as regulations pertaining to public transport, remain unchanged.
In terms of Covid-19 deaths and burials, only fifty mourners are allowed at a burial of a person whose death is attributed to Covid-19. “Close family members are allowed at a distance of three meters from the grave. Other mourners must be stationed at a distance of not less than 10 meters from the grave. Mourners must maintain a minimum of not less than two meters physical distancing from one other.”
In closing, the minister said that thousands of frontline workers have literally put their lives on the line for our sake. “Many have been infected with Covid-19 in the line of duty. Some have fallen severely ill and regrettably, some have lost their lives. Their deaths should not be in vain. Let each and every one of us do our part to suppress the further spread of this deadly disease. For the sake of those who continue to work, let us comply fully with the Public Health Regulations. This is the only way we can defeat this deadly enemy.”