The private sector-sponsored COVID-19 field hospital in Oshakati was officially opened by Honorable Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services, on 25 August 2021. Honorable Elia Irimari, Governor of the Oshana Region, was also present at the handover. The fully equipped 40-bed tented ward is another project of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI)-led Private Sector COVID-19 Support Initiative.
With a contribution of N$ 3 million towards the construction of the field hospital, the main sponsor of this NCCI-led project was the global shipping company Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), the Belgium-based partner of O&L Nexentury – a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group – in the Green Hydrogen business. Fellow O&L subsidiaries, Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) and O&L Project Management, together with Windhoek Consulting Engineers, oversaw the coordination of the project as they did with the construction of the Windhoek COVID-19 field hospital last month.
Honorable Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services, officially commissioned the field hospital and shared a word of thanks: “This is an extremely generous donation, which we wholeheartedly appreciate. This facility will benefit our communities, our patients and their families.
“It is pleasing that the added capacity we have created, is standing ready to serve our people whenever the need arises. We are continuing to add capacity in other Regions through the construction of prefabricated isolation units at places such as Okahao, Okahandja, Karasburg, Andara, and Otjiwarongo,” the Minister added.
Representing O&L Nexentury and its Belgian partner, CMB, was Bernd Walbaum, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of O&L Nexentury, who stated: “An investment of this kind is a true reflection of our Purpose at O&L, ‘Creating a future, enhancing life’, along with our Vision, ‘to be a catalyst for positive change, creating new realities and fulfilling dreams’. We hope this structure will be a source of comfort to the communities in and around Oshakati as they, along with the rest of the country, continue their fight against the COVID-19 virus, knowing that better days will lie ahead.”
Walbaum further extended his appreciation to the other entities that contributed to the project, which included Barloworld for its construction services; The De Beers Group, Hangala Group and all co-sponsors; and fellow O&L subsidiaries, NBL and O&L Project Management, for coordinating the project. He also thanked CMB for their significant donation as the main sponsor of the field hospital.
Speaking via video message was the CEO of CMB, Alexander Saverys, who expressed the importance of coming together in trying times such as these: “Our company is developing strong business ties with Namibia, and when we heard about the COVID-19 Private Sector Initiative, we immediately decided to support the project. Like Namibia, our country and continent have been badly affected by the corona pandemic. Like you, we’ve had to mourn the passing of too many of our compatriots. We know that in dire situations, every bit of help can make a significant difference and that’s why we are here today.”
Also in attendance was Bisey Uirab, NCCI President, who acknowledged all the parties that helped complete another impactful project: “I want to specifically thank all the key players who have committed their resources both in terms of cash, in kind or various forms towards the construction of this facility. Moreso, the NCCI is forever indebted to you and all the partners in this project who continue to work tirelessly to ensure that we fulfil all the commitments we made when we initiated this project – which mainly include the timely supply of medical oxygen in all our public hospitals and health facilities, support with additional space like these field hospitals and the supply of related urgent medical needs.”