We care, Govt tells Walvis

28 July 2020 | Health

LEANDREA LOUW

WALVIS BAY



Deputy health minister Ester Muinjangue has assured Walvis Bay that government does care about the town's residents.

Muinjangue said if the government did not care about its people, a ministerial delegation would not be visiting the harbour town, which is the epicentre of the country's Covid-19 pandemic.

The deputy minister, who is leading the delegation, said when the health ministry first started dealing with Covid-19, the plan was to quarantine and isolate cases.



'We will make mistakes'

“In the process, we realised that this isn't working. Countries all over the world are going through the same process. We are learning as we go forward. We will make mistakes from which we have to learn. “The lockdown was another way for us to see if it is effective or not. It is all about trial and error.”

“Now is the time for us to go back and share with government. I am sure that something positive will come from this visit,” Muinjangue said.

She also thanked the Erongo Corona Care (ECC) initiative for their proactive approach and the extensive research they've done.

“Perhaps we should have started setting plans in motion a long time ago. Perhaps we should have moved at a faster pace. With that I agree. Cases are increasing, and our health workers are facing their biggest challenge yet and they're burnt out. Now we need to look at how we can strengthen our local leadership,” she said.

The ECC was established to assist the government in the fight against Covid-19 and yesterday addressed the ministerial delegation in Walvis Bay.

It's chairperson Heritha Muyoba said the initiative consists of almost 70 members.

“We are here to help as best we can. We have no ulterior motives. We have done an assessment of the region in terms of Covid-19 readiness which, along with projections, was submitted to the health minister in March/April already.”

Muyoba said this was done to ensure that a regional plan was in place when the pandemic hits the region.

“[But] we have lost that opportunity. The first lockdown was not used adequately.

Along the way, we have done what we could. We went to our members, collected sponsorships and renovated facilities. We need to use Walvis Bay as a case study to ensure that all other regions in the country do not fall in the same trap.”



Predictions

The ECC predicts that by the end of July, Walvis Bay will have 2 000 Covid-19 cases and by August this number could reach 6 000.

“We've developed a statistical plan, showing how the rate of infection will grow in Walvis Bay. We identified warehouses to be utilised as quarantine facilities. While certain experts indicated that we would only have 210 cases by January 2021, we've already surpassed the 1 000 mark. We should rather have been over-prepared. This should truly be a lesson for us,” Muyoba said.

Earlier this year, the ECC planned to build a 150-bed field hospital which still has not been given the go-ahead.

However, the minister of health indicated that approval had been granted, adding that he had no idea what happened to the approval when it was passed down to the regional health directorate.