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Health care system under severe strain

Health care system under severe strain

Niël Terblanché


NAMIBIA is currently experiencing a severe shortage of Intensive Care Unit beds as a result of a significant increase in the number of patients in need of critical care after being diagnosed with COVID-19.


While announcing the latest statistics, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe said COVID-19 is now posing a significant threat to public and private health services in the country as both the prevention and treatment capabilities are being severely affected.


“The central concern created for our health system is the need for critical care services. We are concerned with the increase in the number of hospitalized confirmed cases as this situation is greatly impacting negatively on the public healthcare system by creating a shortage of intensive care beds and ICUs facilities in the regions,” he said.


Nangombe said patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and in need of critical acre increased to 41 over the past 24 hours. The 41 critical patients are part of 261 people already admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment.


“Along with the growing number of cases, healthcare workers are being infected and this is also worrying as more staff will be required to manage patients already in the hospital,” he said.


Nangombe also announced the death of a 60-year-od man from Karasburg and that of a 51 woman from Keetmanshoop.


Both patients passed away on Saturday and their deaths brought the cumulative number recorded in Namibia since the start of the pandemic to 215.


He stated that 462 new cases were registered in Namibia since Saturday. The number comes from a specimen batch of 2 158 which represents a positivity rate of 21%.


Nangombe said that the gender distribution of the new cases is 254 women and 208 men of which the youngest patient is a three-day-old baby and the oldest is an 82-year-old pensioner.


According to Nangombe, 117 people in Windhoek had positive test results while the Oshakati and Swakopmund health districts both registered 55 new cases, Rehoboth 54, Onandjokwe 32, Rundu 21, Gobabis and Tsumeb 14 each, Walvis Bay 12, Grootfontein and Omaruru 11 each, Mariental 10, Outjo and Keetmanshoop nine each, Usakos eight, Opuwo seven, Lüderitz six, Otjiwarongo five, Katima Mulilo four, Andara and Okahao three each while Karasburg and Engala registered one new case each.


He said that of the new cases 38% had contact with confirmed active cases while 56% of the new patients presented with symptoms associated with COVID-19 when they submitted specimens for testing.


He also announced the recovery of 124 patients since Saturday.


Nangombe once again requested all Namibians to practice the basic measures to prevent the rampant spread of COVID-19 in Namibia.


“As we navigate through the New Year, let us mask-up, sanitize and clean our hands, avoid gatherings and minimize non-essential trips,” he implored.


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