NDF builds field hospital at Walvis

02 July 2020 | Health

ERWIN LEUSCHNER

WALVIS BAY



While the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases at Walvis Bay rose by a record number yesterday morning, the military announced that it will build a modern field hospital with 18 beds there within two days.

The NDF's field hospital at Hosea Kutako International Airport is being moved to Walvis Bay because the number of beds available for Covid-19 patients there is no longer sufficient. “Our mission in this region is simple. We have to build this field hospital and support you in the fight against the virus,” said Festus Sakaria, a registered nurse from the Department of Defence, in Walvis Bay yesterday morning.

A convoy of several military vehicles had already arrived in the port city on Tuesday evening.

“We will start building the mobile hospital today (Wednesday) after we have been ordered to move the hospital,” added Sakaria.

The field hospital was built at Hosea Kutako airport in February to serve as quarantine centre for arriving passengers. Its relocation to Walvis Bay was ordered on Sunday. It will be built on the same property where the private sector wanted to set up a field hospital a few months ago, but never received the necessary permit.

According to Sakaria, the field hospital will initially offer 18 beds, including an intensive care unit, but it can be expanded.

“The hospital will be up and running within two days, and patients can be treated there starting Friday,” he said when he symbolically asked Erongo governor Neville Andre for permission to build the facility in his region.

Andre expressed his gratitude and said the initiative was a sign that the government was supporting Walvis Bay in the fight against the pandemic.



Epicentre

The port city has become the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Namibia. Health minister Kalumbi Shangula announced 52 new Covid-19 cases yesterday morning - 51 of whom are in Walvis Bay.

“I assure Walvis Bay that the government has taken all measures to build sufficient health facilities,” said Shangula, adding that there was a backlog of test results due to mass testing at the coast.

“Quarantined people in particular have to be patient while we work on this,” he said.



Only 73 beds

Dr Martha Ntinda, acting senior physician at the Walvis Bay State Hospital, said yesterday that there are 73 beds available for Covid-19 patients at state health facilities in Walvis Bay: 36 in former tuberculosis ward, 17 in the renovated old garages and 20 at the Walvis Bay Clinic.

“But because almost all the Covid-19 cases have virtually no symptoms, we brought 73 patients to Henties Bay, where they are being isolated. We want to keep beds unoccupied for patients who need intensive treatment,” she said.

According to her, none of the virus-infected people in Walvis Bay are seriously or critically ill, but even people without symptoms have to be housed in an isolation facility.

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