NDF avails helicopters for malaria outbreak
WINDHOEK, 14 MAR (NAMPA) – Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku has said Government will use National Defence Force (NDF) helicopters to reach areas that are hard hit by the malaria outbreak.
Haufiku made the remarks at a media conference on the commencement of the malaria outbreak response plan of the ministry in Windhoek on Tuesday.
“This is not the first time the country experiences an outbreak, it happens from time to time. The outbreak this year is complicated by the floods,” he explained.
The regions of Ohangwena, Kavango East and West, as well as Zambezi are the hardest hit.
In total, 6 500 malaria cases have been reported in the affected regions, with between 13 and 18 deaths in total reported in the Kavango East and West regions, while nine deaths were reported in Ohangwena.
The minister further explained that he approached the Ministry of Defence to help avail their helicopters and any other means of transport to easily reach such difficult areas.
“I had a discussion with the Minister of Defence Penda Ya Ndakolo in which he assured me the helicopters are ready to fly anytime,” he added.
The members of the Defence Force, he noted, will also be availed to help lift critically ill patients.
Director of Consult Care Ciske Smith said the total budget for the response plan is N.dollars 12.3 million which Cabinet approved.
From the N.dollars 12.3 million, N.dollars 5.4 million is for medical staff, N.dollars 14 000 for drivers, N.dollars 2 million for fuel costs, N.dollars 1 million for public relations and N.dollars 1.1 million is for contingency allowance.
The rest of the money will be used to buy long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to be used by the people to avoid mosquito bites.
The response plan which started on Tuesday will run for 60 days.