Windhoek – Late morning at a far-flung village in Oshana Region, northern Namibia, self-employed Selma Shilongo remained indoors, reflecting her once active social life.
“In the past, by this time, I would be somewhere networking or busy with field interventions, but have been indoors for a while now as encouraged by the government to avoid contracting COVID-19,” the 39-year-old Shilongo said on Monday.
As COVID-19 continues to run rampant through Namibia, dwellers in Namibia’s northern and north-eastern parts adjust social patterns as the COVID-19 epicentre shifts. The Namibian government recently announced that the country’s COVID-19 epicentre is shifting from central Khomas, Otjozondjupa regions and coastal Erongo region to other regions, including the northern and northeastern parts.
“We are monitoring the rising incidence curve in the Oshana and Kavango East regions,” said Namibian President Hage Geingob in a national briefing last week.
For young Meke Fanuel, who works in Oshana, wearing a mask and sanitising have become part of her daily priorities.
“Not only to protect me but also my loved ones and immediate community. I have also been vaccinated,” says Fanuel.
She encourages others to take precautions and consider inoculation.
“Hopefully, others will find the courage to get vaccinated and further motivate others, so we reach our targets for herd immunity,” she adds.
The elderly in rural areas in the region are also taking extra care amid the high death rate amongst the senior citizens in the country. Records from the Ministry of Health and Social Services show that as of July 15, 55 percent of fatalities were recorded among people above 60 years.
Efforts to avoid contracting the disease include minimised socialisation, visitations and gatherings.
“But if attending one or two gatherings such as funerals, we keep a safe physical distance, sanitise regularly,” says Kayi Iita, a-68-year-old pensioner.
People are also maximising on the radio to get factual information on COVID-19.
“Radio has been instrumental. It helps us keep abreast of the new COVID-19 variant, number of cases, precautionary measures and vaccination. I religiously listen to the news and other programmes in indigenous languages,” says Agatus Timothy, an elderly citizen from a village in Oshana.
In addition, there is growing reliance on home remedies such as steaming and improved diet.
“We include supplementary foods and fruits rich in vitamin C and nutrients that boost the immune system,” explains Tomas Hausiku from Kavango East.
The Namibian government has extended the Public Health Regulations from July 15, for another 14 days until July 29, 2021.
Traditional leaders have echoed the efforts of the government, urging locals to adhere to regulations.
The head of the Ondonga Traditional Authority in northern Namibia, Fillemon Shuumbwa, consulted and wrote to other traditional leaders to enforce regulations and promote adherence at the grassroots.
“I urge all communities and individuals to follow regulations in place. These include ceasing visitations and avoiding large gatherings,” Shuumbwa said.Namibia has so far recorded more than 112,160 confirmed cases and 2,506 deaths. – Xinhua