On 29 July 2021, The Right Honorable Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, officially opened the 1,500m2 field hospital for COVID-19 patients at Windhoek Central Hospital, with Honorable Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services, also in attendance. The field hospital is to act as a ward to the Katutura Intermediate Hospital and has the capacity to accommodate 70 patients as well as the capability for extension as needed. Pledges of N$ 4 million were made by private Namibian entities towards this vital project.
Through this NCCI-led initiative, Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) is one of several private Namibian entities that have invested in realizing the successful completion of the Field Hospital. In addition to taking the responsibility of coordinating the entire project from start to completion, NBL has also invested N$ 2 million into this important project. Along with the donation of 63 tons of oxygen, the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group has invested more than N$ 3 million into the NCCI-led COVID Support Initiative over the past 6 weeks.
Honorable Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services, elaborated on the conditions the country continues to face: “During the past three months, Namibia experienced the worst of the three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic to date. The current wave is driven by [the] Delta virus which was originally detected in India and has since spread to 132 countries across the globe, including Namibia.”
In addition to the 70-bed field hospital, The Right Honorable Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, explained that other developments are underway to avail additional beds across the country for COVID-19 patients, and secure more vaccine doses, adding: “We are pleased to note the increase in the uptake of COVID vaccination. Government continues to pursue efforts to secure more doses for the country. I, therefore, wish to encourage all Namibians who are eligible to get vaccinated to protect themselves and enable the country to get herd immunity.”
Marco Wenk, Managing Director (MD) of NBL, speaking on behalf of his and the other sponsoring and supporting companies, said: “With this field hospital, we hope to be able to provide much needed support, care, and treatment to those in need due to being infected with the COVID-19 virus. This is how we strive to be a catalyst for positive change in our communities and it is our sincere hope that this field hospital will provide relief to those in need and help get us onto a much-needed path of healing”.
Wenk further noted that “Our support and work towards this vital initiative is, however, not complete. We have already commenced with the coordination of the Oshakati Field Hospital, with Barloworld having completed the site works while the tent structure nearing completion. I’d also like to use this opportunity to thank the Belgium-based maritime company CMB, a partner of our fellow O&L Group operational company, O&L Nexentury, for their generous sponsorship of N$3 million towards the full set-up of the Oshakati Field Hospital. All investments of this nature reflect what our O&L Group Purpose, ‘Creating a future, enhancing life’, is all about.”
Wenk also extended his gratitude to O&L Project Management and its MD, Jacky Jacobs, who oversaw the project from start to completion. The other Private Sector cash donors who contributed to the field hospital include Barloworld, Santam, Letshego Namibia, Momentum Metropolitan, Reptile Mineral Resources, Sanlam, Pick ‘n Pay and PPS Insurance. Among the donors who contributed in-kind or through ‘free-of-charge’ services were Barloworld, Kickstart Namibia Group, B2Gold, Innovate Information Technology, United Africa/Protea Hotels, as well as significant support from all contractors and service providers.