Ralph Hofelein, USAID
Windhoek, Namibia – The U.S. Government has supported Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services in fighting COVID-19 since the virus arrived in the country. After two years of a prolonged battle against the pandemic, all COVID-19 related restrictions were removed in July 2022. However, the country needs to be prepared for a possible resurgence.
In support of Namibia’s COVID readiness, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Global Health Supply Chain Program - Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project, donated more than 17,000 items of personal protective equipment to the Health Ministry. These items, worth more than US$300,000 (approximately N$5.3 million), include surgical gloves and face masks.
“While COVID-19 restrictions were lifted after a 26-month long battle that resulted in the loss of family, friends and colleagues for many, our work is not yet finished. In fact, the work of medical staff across Namibia carries on. This work necessitates continued bravery and resolve; it also requires critical equipment, materials and commodities,” said Jordan Tuchman, Acting USAID Country Representative.
Although COVID-19 restrictions are no longer in place, the disease has not disappeared entirely from Namibia. The number of infections has decreased to a manageable level and there are few patients in intensive care. Life for many has - by and large - returned to normal. Despite this, the need for health facility staff to observe safety measures relating to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases persists and may require appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in certain settings.
Medical gloves and masks play an important role in the safe delivery of health care, preventing infections from passing from healthcare workers to patients, and vice versa. The World Health Organization highlights the importance of medical gloves by health-care workers in situations with a heightened risk of infectious disease transmission. Face masks are indispensable for health care workers to reduce the spread of airborne infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
The U.S. government has been working together with the Namibian government since the beginning of the pandemic to protect Namibians against COVID-19. With the donation of gloves and masks, Namibian health care workers will be able to protect themselves and their patients against COVID-19 and other diseases.