Namibia: Govt Adds Beds for Covid Fight

16 September 2021

From trying to convert shipping containers into isolation units to expanding the Covid-19 testing capacity nationally, the government has been on a quest to strengthen capacity to accommodate current and prospective patients.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said new projects, comprising of prefabricated isolation units were completed between June 2020 and September 2021 with more still to be finalised soon.

"The capacities of these facilities that were recently completed range between four and 12 beds. They were constructed at places such as Windhoek Central Hospital (24 beds), Walvis Bay Hospital (24 beds), Opuwo Hospital (four beds), Oshakati Hospital (four beds), Eenhana Hospital (12 beds)," shared Shangula.

In total, for now, 128 beds were added around the country at various health facilities to create space for emergencies with more to be constructed in other parts.

"Similar projects are underway at Okahao (12 beds), Andara (12 beds), Otjiwarongo (12 beds), Okahandja (12 beds) and Karasburg (eight beds). They are expected to be completed and commissioned soon," detailed Shangula.

The former Katutura Hospital TB Ward is also being extended to cater for an additional 96 Covid-19 beds. The evaluation of the bids is ongoing to recommend a contractor for the project.

The government has funded the repurposing of a unit within the Keetmanshoop State Hospital to create a 15-bed intensive care unit.

"The facility is due for commissioning soon. A unit within Katima Mulilo State Hospital will be converted to serve as a 14-bed intensive care unit. The procurement process for the repurposing of the said facility is underway," briefed Shangula.

He added: "We have taken a conscious decision to capacitate district hospitals to be able to provide for the appropriate ICU services. Other district hospitals around the country also have limited capacity to provide for intensive care."

Shangula noted that in the pre-Covid-19 situation, the number of ICU beds countrywide was severely limited, adding the creation of additional ICU capacity will go a long way towards further strengthening services in the areas of surgery, obstetrics and anaesthesia.

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