As the number of coronavirus patients increases in Namibia, the emergency task force committee in Oshana region is working around the clock to raise funds to acquire a ventilator before the outbreak is detected in the region.
The region is said to be in need of a ventilator and without access to a ventilator, many patients who might have a chance to survive the infection, might die.
The governor of Oshana region, Elia Irimari, in an interview with The Namibian, said that coronavirus patients are at a higher risk of dying because of the crisis the region faces.
"My team is trying everything they can to acquire a ventilator. The region does not have a ventilator and we are in dire need of one. The coronavirus is deadly and should the health authorities detect any positive case of the coronavirus while we are still without a single machine in place, our patients will be at a greater risk of dying, hence we really need a ventilator before time runs out.
"The machine is quite expensive but we are trying our best to get one. We cannot afford to lose even a single life to the coronavirus," said Irimari.
A ventilator is a machine that is used to support patients with severe respiratory conditions that impact the lungs, including pneumonia. This machine is extremely crucial for Covid-19 patients.
Irimari said that at the moment, the region has not recorded any suspected or confirmed positive case of Covid-19.
He further said that the Ongwediva and Ondangwa trade fair centres have been set aside as isolation centres for coronavirus patients should the outbreak spread to the region, while the National Youth Council centre at Ondangwa will be used as a quarantine centre.
"We are also in talk with the management of Ongwediva Medipark Private Hospital, Ondangwa Private Hospital and Oshakati Intermediate Hospital and they have so far indicated their willingness to make their facilities available for isolation of coronavirus patients and to work hand in hand with the committee.
"The task force committee is also hard at work trying to put everything in place should the coronavirus spread to the region. We have ordered a number of face masks, hand gloves and sanitisers that we want to hand over to the less privileged community members and to the hospitals.
"We are trying our best and we hope the community members adhere to the precautionary measures set in place to help combat the further spread of the coronavirus in the region and in the whole country," he said.
Prominent businessman, Erastus "Chicco" Shapumba has offered one of his 10-bedroom houses at Ongwediva to be used as a quarantine facility in case of an emergency.
Irimari said a number of business people in the region have also come on board and many have donated a number of items and equipment to the regional council to help mitigate the further spread of the virus.
The region is also planning to set up an emergency call centre where the inhabitants will be informed on any updates regarding the coronavirus.
The governor further urged the inhabitants of Oshana region to wash their hands at all times, use hand sanitisers and to keep their environments clean and stay indoors at all times.
The regional health director of Oshana region, Johanna Haimene, could not be reached for comment.