A De Beers Group response to Covid-19 in Namibia

Hand over of Ariamsvlei screening facility by the De Beers Group

From the early onslaught of Covid-19 in Namibia, the De Beers Group engaged the Government on an aligned strategy to mitigate its impact on employees, communities and Namibia at large. To that effect, the De Beers Group pledged N$15 million in-kind towards Covid-19 support.

Leveraging on the Anglo-American global supply chain network, De Beers Group procured PCR Testing machines for placement at the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP), and assisted Namdeb and Debmarine Namibia to install similar machines at the Oranjemund Hospital Laboratory and the UNAM Medical School respectively. The Laboratory in Oranjemund wassince designated by the Ministry of Health and Social Services to serve the Kharas Region.

One of the exciting projects undertaken by the Beers Group isthe construction of the Port Health Screening Facilities at the Ariaamsvlei and Noordoewer border posts in the Kharas Region. This project was undertaken in partnership with the Anglo-American Namibia Foundation.  The facilities, although primarily motivated by the need for better health screening facilities as a Covid-19 intervention, will be used for general health screening, even when Covid-19 cases subside or are eliminated. The facilities constructed at a total cost of N$4.4 million consist of screening rooms, and isolation rooms. The Ministry of Health and Social Services were involved in the project from inception and the facilities were formally handed over to the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, on 11 August 2020.

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony, De Beers Country Director, Daniel Kali said “We will continue to bring our part in fighting this awful pandemic, Covid-19. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Namibia in these most difficult times, is what true partnership is all about. We are a proud of our partnership with the people of Namibia….”

As part of the ongoing community engagements during the pandemic, the Luderitz State Hospital was identified as requiring additional support to enable it to better deal with potential Covid-19 cases.  De Beers Group thus made funds available to improve the ICU/High Care capability for the Luderitz State Hospital. With support from the Debmarine-Namdeb Foundation, minor renovations were made to the hospital and new equipment such as ICU beds, oxygen supply equipment, ventilators and other essential medical equipment were installed. Today, Luderitz State Hospital has improved capacity to deal with critically ill patients in its High-Care/ICU Unit.

Commenting on the De Beers Group responses to Covid-19 in Namibia, Bruce Cleaver De Beers Group CEO noted, “Covid-19 is a global pandemic that has devastated lives and livelihoods around the world. As a partner of the people of Namibia, we could not stand back and leave it all to government to resolve. I am delighted that we were able to leverage our global supply network to bring much needed goods and expertise to Namibia, to assist in fighting this pandemic. It is these difficult times that cements true partnerships…”