We are in this together

The socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been extremely harsh on community members in the Erongo region and Walvis Bay in particular.

04 August 2020 | Local News

Nankole Muyoba; Namdock acting CEO; “we have felt the effects of this pandemic very closely,”

Walvis Bay

“Namdock with its large and long-serving local workforce are extremely concerned by the effects and ramifications of this on the local community,” says Heritha Nankole Muyoba, the acting CEO of Namdock.

According to Nankole Muyoba the company’s concern for people and the greater Walvis Bay community goes even deeper than taking proactive and responsible measures to protect them and prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

“All our employees have families, and are part of the greater local community, which is not only suffering health-wise, but also from an educational and economic perspective at this incredibly challenging time. Children cannot attend school in the normal way, causing concern over the longer-term impact on their education; and also very worryingly, many members of the community are working for less pay or even being retrenched from their jobs, as companies in the region are suffering from the negative financial effects of this terrible pandemic.”

She adds that nobody knows exactly when the virus infection curve will peak, and finally begin to flatten out.

“Therefore, as tough and often unpleasant as these times are, it is beholden on each and every one of us in the Walvis Bay community to remember we are all in this together. We need to reach out, not just at the corporate level, but as families and individuals, to our fellow Namibians at this time of need, and all play our part in firstly surviving, and then in the aftermath of this pandemic, rebuilding our town and our community.”

Namdock which is a ship repair and wholly Namibian-owned company is regarded by many as a stalwart of the Walvis Bay community.

Since Namdock which is classified as an essential service provider by the ministry of industrialisation trade and SME development resumed operations in May, the company has been extremely proactive in ensuring that all its employees adhered to stringent sanitisation and social distancing measures.

This is done to ensure that work and operations continue while minimising the risk of any potential infection as far as possible.

“Before the initial commencement of the lockdown, we instituted company-wide influenza vaccinations, and distributed sanitisation packs to our workforce,” Nankole Muyoba explained.

Prior to the resumption of full operations, the company also provided comprehensive training on the prevention of Covid-19 infection transmission; and, since then instituted a two-shift process, to further enhance and adhere to social and physical distancing directives.

All employees have been issued with washable and reusable face masks at two-weekly intervals. The wearing of these, as well as hand sanitising at stations throughout Namdock’s facilities, and temperature checking at all entry and exit points, is mandatory.

Despite all measures taken, three of the company’s employees tested positive for Covid-19 at the end of June, and are currently in Namdock’s own isolation facility, where they are being fully medically monitored, and periodically re-tested. This will be the case until they test negative and are cleared to go home.

Five other employees who were in contact have duly been quarantined and are currently awaiting their test results.

“These unfortunate positive cases have also meant that we as a company are not inviolable - despite all our stringent sanitisation and other prevention efforts - and that we have felt the effects of this pandemic very closely,” Nankole Muyoba said.

“We have furthermore been saddened and concerned to see that some fellow countrymen and women are even being stigmatised for being positive.

We all need to remember that anyone of us could get the virus at any time. As a country, we have also been very lucky that there have, to date, been no fatalities, for which we are very thankful,” she comments.

Bearing in mind that practical assistance goes a long way at times like this, Namdock has been proactive in analysing the status of the Erongo region’s medical facilities and pandemic care readiness, to see where it could help.

To this end, the company has recently assisted the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) in their efforts to create more isolation facilities in Walvis Bay.

Over and above various practical projects, Namdock’s management is also very involved in the local Covid-19 task team set up to work on a variety of different initiatives in a bid to prevent further infections and fight the spread of the virus, in Walvis Bay and surrounding communities which sadly, are very vulnerable.

“We are also looking at several risk mitigation measures - as well as important issues such as the availability of quarantine facilities,” said Nankole Muyoba.

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