Status: Completed response

As Africa battled a third COVID-19 wave, UK-Med sent a team to Namibia to support the country’s pandemic response and save lives.

As a third wave of COVID-19 spread across Africa, more people in Namibia died in June 2021 than in all the preceding months since the start of the global pandemic. Over the summer, a number of Ministers and elders died from the virus and hospitals and mortuaries were overwhelmed in the country’s capital city Windhoek.


Cumulative cases


Total deaths


Total new cases in July


New deaths in July

In August, the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) prioritised supporting national health care staff to develop the specialist skills and knowledge needed to manage COVID-19 patients, particularly those who are seriously and critically ill.

With a population of 2.5 million, Namibia is a large and sparsely populated country – the second least-densely populated country in the world – on Africa’s southwest coast, bordering South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

COVID-19 is a major risk in Namibia for two main reasons. Firstly, the high numbers of people living with HIV and TB in comparison to many other African countries, which makes them potentially more susceptible to the virus; and secondly the high number of people who live in rural areas who often struggle to get timely health care treatment before they become very sick.

Our response

Following an urgent request for support from the Namibian MoHSS, UK-Med sent an international team of ten doctors, nurses and operational specialists from the UK, Burundi, Greece, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.

Led by public health specialist Elias Pavlopoulos, the team delivered specialist training and on the job support to national health care workers in COVID-19 case management, infection prevention and control measures in hospitals, raising awareness of the virus and how to prevent the further spread and supporting effective vaccine roll out.

The team worked in two hospitals in the capital city Windhoek and brought expertise in critical care, emergency medicine, infection prevention and control, risk communications and community engagement, public health and logistics.

Our response in more detail

Assessing community and clinical staff perceptions of COVID-19 and developing awareness campaigns to increase knowledge, counter misinformation, and reduce stigma of the virus.

Reviewing the capacity of targeted hospitals to manage and treat patients with COVID-19, including assessment of their isolation and intensive care units.

Putting in place patient and staff flows within the hospitals, training national staff in how these work and the triage and admission process for patients with COVID-19.

Supporting identification, screening, triage and referral of COVID-19 positive patients.

Putting in place infection prevention and control (IPC) measures and the delivery of IPC training to national staff, in line with WHO international standards.

Supporting the isolation and appropriate clinical care for all cases, especially severe and critically ill patients.

Putting in place infection prevention and control (IPC) measures and the delivery of IPC training to national staff, in line with WHO international standards.

Adaptation of clinical guidelines and supporting the development of standard operating procedures for the identified hospitals.

Ensure that all necessary tools and guidelines in all relevant technical areas are available and effectively used.

With thanks to the British people via funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

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