Temporary mortuary for harbour town

Covid fatalities rising rapidly

06 July 2021 | Local News

Walvis Bay


Temporary mortuary facilities have been made available for the Erongo region after Namdock, along with the local business community, spearheaded an initiative to convert a cooling container for use by the Walvis Bay State Hospital.

This will significantly increase existing storage capacity for bodies.

The 40-foot container facility refurbished at a cost of N$200 000, was handed over to representatives from the health ministry yesterday.

According to acting senior medical officer Dr Agustus Gawab, the hospital had capacity to store 10 bodies and an additional six bodies in a small container.

“Our mortuary is over capacitated. The facility became full and we had to move bodies to Swakopmund.”
Rapid response

Allan Martin of J&P Hydraulics, the company that assisted with mounting the shelves in the container, said that they used prefabricated material.

“We received the parts and assembled it on Saturday so that we could deliver it on Tuesday. If we had to fabricate the shelving from raw material it would have taken another week. The facility can accommodate 40 bodies,” he said.

Martin said that depending on the size of the bodies, two corpses can be accommodated on one shelf.

“This means that the hospital will now be able to accommodate another 50 bodies. The shelves are loose standing. It can be dismantled and put up at another facility should the need arise.”

Gesture appreciated

Erongo governor Neville Andre welcomed the gesture.

“We are witnessing a rapid rise in Covid cases and fatalities. We should also be concerned about the increase in hospitalisations. Fortunately, we invested in infrastructure last year when Walvis Bay was the epicentre of the pandemic by erecting a prefab facility and turning garages into wards. Unfortunately, the need is growing and it is sad that we must make provision for those who are succumbing to Covid-19."

Erongo regional health director Anna Jonas also expressed her gratitude to all role players who made the temporary mortuary possible.

“We never thought we would need an additional container for mortuary purposes. At the beginning we thought that only our cases would go up and hence we acquired a mobile mortuary last year. Since cases increased rapidly, we realised that we urgently need an additional facility.”

Team effort

Heritha Nankole Muyoba, Namdock acting CEO, said that corporate citizens are obliged to contribute to finding solutions to the challenges government is faced with.

“We were told that there is a need. We acquired the material and received a free container, which can be utilised until such time we do not need it anymore.”

She paid tribute to all who contributed and in so doing ensured that the initiative materialised.

“Some contributed manpower free of charge and that is their contribution towards fighting this pandemic. This is a partnership involving local businesses and for as long as we are able to, we will partner with government.”

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