Nam, Bots stokvel for vaccines

Namibian health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said the collaboration will put the two countries in a favourable position and will also save money spent on logistics.

01 February 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi said the scramble for the Covid-19 vaccine has exposed how development gives countries leverage when competing for supplies.

His country and Namibia, both with small populations, will, therefore, collaborate to procure additional Covid-19 vaccine doses to complement the quantities secured under the Covax facility.

“The whole Covid-19 vaccines story is not just a narrative of holding, there is a reality of development. It speaks to who has what and who has not. Let us face it, we don’t have the plants that makes the vaccine. So, is it surprising that those who have them keep to their purse, especially when it is life-saving?” he asked.

Masisi added that countries like Namibia and Botswana would probably have pay quite a price, including the loss of lives.

“By the time the vaccine comes, we would have lost a lot people dear to us, some of our best talent, unfortunately. That is a regression in development.

“So, it is a wonderful study in the world economic reality and that is why it is important that we hone home the development and domestication of intellectual capital,” Masisi said.

Not sufficient

Both Namibia and Botswana have subscribed to the Covax facility, which gives equitable access to developing countries, as well as the African Union (AU) Covid-19 vaccine plan.

However, according to Masisi, these supplies will not be sufficient to realise herd immunity.

“That is why we are shopping; we are looking to secure vaccines. We have decided to collaborate in the space of activities that are prerequisites to the immunisation programme - to prevent.

“As to the date on when you can have a shot in your arm, we are not yet there because we still have to finalise the date. That does not stop our teams from readying our systems,” he said.

Favourable position

Namibian health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said this move will put the two countries in a favourable position and will also save both countries money on logistics.

“It makes sense to do this. When we have Botswana nationals living and working here who fall in the vaccination plan categories, they will be treated the same as Namibian nationals when we implement vaccination plan.

“The same with Namibians living in Botswana. There would be no need for them to return to Namibia to be vaccinated,” he said.

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