“War room” established for Covid-stricken Swakopmund

Sharlien Tjambari 

The Constituency Councillor of the Swakopmund Constituency of the Erongo Regional Council, Cllr Ciske Smith-Howard, is setting up a Covid-19 war room in the holiday town, to coordinate a renewed assault on the pandemic.

An integral part of her strategy was to call upon all registered nurses, doctors, pharmacists and even retired health care professionals to come forward as volunteers.
Cllr Smith-Howard’s appeal has been greeted with overwhelming response. So far fifteen health care professionals have agreed to assist.  Cllr Howard-Smith appealed to those who want to join the fight to make only a small fraction of their time available to assist.  Swakopmund has experienced soaring Covid-19 infections in recent days. The town’s health care system is under severe strain. Not only at the state hospital and clinics, but also staff in the Ministry of Health and Social Services that needs to keep general services going.  Swakopmund residents are feeling the effects of this strain on the health care system. They are frustrated by long long queues at the various health points in the holiday town. They have to fall into long queues at the Covid-19 testing point, and have to bear long queues at the Covid-19 vaccination point.
Not only is this uncomfortable, especially for those who are not feeling well or who have to take time from their schedules to get vaccinated. People also feel it is in these queues where you are highly exposed to infection of the Coronavirus.
In messages send via social media, Cllr Smith-Howard said: “At the moment we are facing a massive pandemic in this country. People are dying every day, it’s not like anything that we’ve experienced before. It really is a problem”.
“Our hospitals are overflowing. We simply cannot do this alone. Everybody is expecting the vaccine to be rolled out quickly, and we do not have enough hands to make this happen. Please get in touch with me if you willing to volunteer as a nurse or doctor”.

With regard to the Covid war room, great effort will be made to maintain the vaccine roll-out, and to get people to vaccinate. Those who will be assisting at the war room will also work closely with the relevant authorities to ensure the appropriate responses to the pandemic is maintained. In her capacity as the Chairperson of the Erongo Regional Council, Smith-Howard will also roll out the Covid-19 response to all settlements in the Region which does not have a formal local authority.

Howard-Smith, together with a team of volunteers will be setting up a war room and for the next few weeks she would like to make sure that they get to as many people as possible in Swakopmund and to make sure that they get the roll out of the vaccine done and then further into the region, “with the more help I get the more I can do”, said Howard-Smith.
Howard-Smith further said: “Our systems are overstretched, we not getting the vaccine to everybody quick enough, there is a lot of queuing at the hospitals, there is a lot of queuing to get the vaccine and even that is creating a situation were people are exposed to the virus. I need to make sure that we get to the companies, to the corporates and we go and vaccinate at their place of work to avoid people having to stand in long queues and avoid people getting further exposed to the virus”. “Please come to me and say Ciske I can give you at least some of my time in a day”.  Please contact Ciske on 0816817211.

On Thursday morning when Namib Times spoke to Howard-Smith, she confirmed that the response from health professionals have been overwhelming and so far, she received calls from 15 people who are interested and who will assist her. The project for rolling out the vaccine is run under the Ministry of Health and Socials Services. Howard-Smith said: “We are assisting the health ministry and we are adhering to the rules and regulations put in place by the ministry during the rolling out of the vaccine”.

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