Health

Namibia integrating COVID-19 into existing health programmes: Nangombe

Summary

With many governments changing their approaches to COVID-19 as the disease becomes a fixture of daily life, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has started integrating the COVID-19 blueprint into existing health programmes, such as those dealing…

With many governments changing their approaches to COVID-19 as the disease becomes a fixture of daily life, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has started integrating the COVID-19 blueprint into existing health programmes, such as those dealing with malaria and HIV/Aids.

Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week cautioned against treating COVID-19 like a seasonal flu, in many countries politicians and health experts are pushing for new approaches to treating the disease.

The health ministry’s Executive Director, Ben Nangombe during the launch of the ‘Tourism Sector Drive for COVID-19 Vaccination’ campaign on Tuesday said the ministry in its national preparedness plan endorsed a decision to treat COVID-19 inclusive of the existing pandemic disease programmes such as HIV; Tuberculosis (TB); polio and influenza.

“Eventually we will not have a free standing unit dealing with COVID-19, we will have to incorporate it into other programmes of the ministry and deal with it as such, as we deal with HIV and others. I think COVID-19 will get there,” Nangombe said.

The executive director said that with the recent outbreak of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, like other governments, Namibia has seen cases surging as well. COVID-19 health approaches and strategies thus had to be adjusted in efforts to build a strong foundation in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that the ministry along with other stakeholders continues to establish initiatives such as the ‘Tourism Sector Drive for COVID-19 Vaccination’ campaign, aimed at increasing vaccination coverage within the sector. Nangombe stressed that Namibia’s low vaccination coverage is concerning.

He also stated that despite the health ministry’s daily COVID-19 update indicating that the surge in hospitalisations and deaths are amongst unvaccinated persons, many Namibians continue to defy national vaccination campaigns, which hamper government’s efforts to achieve herd immunity.

By 16 January 2022, 305 955 Namibians, or 23.8 per cent of the targeted population, had completed their vaccination.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency