Windhoek – Young nurses’ are at the forefront of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in Namibia, putting their lives on the line every day.
The country, with a population of about 2.5 million, has recorded more than 115,793 cumulative cases, including over 2,760 deaths, due to COVID-19.
“Although risky to our health, I feel it is good to help and observe people’s health improve. It is a passion,” said Nomhle Masuku, a registered nurse at Katutura State Hospital in the capital, Windhoek.
Although routinely posted at the maternity ward, Masuku has since last year been attached to the COVID-19 unit at the hospital to address a skills deficit. In recent weeks, a rise in the number of new infections increased the number of patients who need hospitalisation and subsequently the demand for health professionals.
“It has not been easy. But being able to make a difference, to give back and help erases the strain of long hours of hard work,” she added.
Boitumelo Lekobane has been working as a nurse for about seven years at a hospital in Windhoek. Despite the risks, a love and enthusiasm for taking care of patients keeps her going.
“I love being a nurse, and I enjoy the fact that one never knows how you are impacting your patient,” she said.
It has been difficult, she admits, yet the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many lessons, particularly appreciation for life.
“There are people who acknowledge and appreciate the work that we do. It motivates one to do better,” she added.
When overwhelmed, Masuku reminds herself of why she chose the vocation. Of note is a personal encounter that drew her to a nursing career.
“I always just wanted to help people. As a child, my grandmother got sick, and she needed help, so I think that drew me into this path field of nursing and medicine,” Masuku said.
Namibian President Hage Geingob this month commended the resilience of frontline workers amid the pandemic.
“True character is revealed in times of crisis. I thank all our healthcare and frontline workers for their tireless, daily sacrifices which they selflessly render for the common good,” President Geingob said.
To address the staff shortage, the Namibian government is recruiting more health professionals, including retired nurses. The Ministry of Health and Social Services has also provided additional 1,050 beds at existing hospitals countrywide.”Currently, any patient that needs hospitalisation is guaranteed a bed with oxygen supply. Deliberate steps have also been taken to improve the supply and availability of life-saving oxygen to our health facilities,” said Dr Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services. – Xinhua