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WBCG assists with national Covid response

Posted: 9 Sep 2020

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) has reaffirmed support to government’s efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus in the country.

The WBCG’s Wellness Service has availed its roadside wellness clinics, as well as medical staff to provide screening and testing services for Covid-19. In addition, two (2) mobile clinics with medical staff are also availed to conduct the same services at the temporary truck port in Walvis Bay, while another WBCG mobile clinic is stationed at Robert Mugabe Street Clinic in Windhoek as part of their ongoing assistance and support to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). With this unwavering support, the WBCG became the first NGO to directly support Government efforts through Covid-19 testing.

WBCG’s decision to heed the call from government for organisations to assist with the country’s Covid-19 response stemmed from the company’s business model to provide wellness interventions to the transport industry and along the transport corridors. WBCG, in relation with its core mandate, which focuses on trade facilitation, initiated a strategic project to address the health and wellness needs of long distance truck drivers operating along its major transport corridors and the communities they interact with.

A network of roadside wellness centres across the country was established in collaboration with industry partners, MOHSS and various international development partners, while the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU), Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT) as well as collaborations with other local stakeholders.

According to Edward Shivute, Project Manager for the Wellness Services, WBCG foresees great opportunities for more collaboration between the health ministry, themselves and the transport industry as the aim to develop a smart public private partnership model in Namibia that can be replicated in other parts of the world. We continue to seek opportunities to make a difference in the industry and indeed the entire country and to remain relevant”, he said.

“We joined the MoHSS’ efforts, as the transport industry is extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 infections. We expected the imminent infections of individuals in the industry due to the nature of their work”, Shivute noted.

He further explained that trucks carry essential goods across borders and are more likely to be exposed to the virus. “As countries start to lift their lock down protocols, we anticipate more movement and in turn a potential increase in infection rates. Hence, as a result we have started to integrate Covid-19 related response mechanisms into our HIV/AIDS and general wellness activities to ensure that we have a comprehensive approach”, he said.

These strategic and targeted health and wellness interventions coincides with the group’s vision to be the prime driver of self-sustaining HIV and AIDS and Employee Wellness Workplace programmes in the Namibian transport sector and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“The roadside wellness clinics located along the transport corridors provide comprehensive health and wellness services with a special focus on addressing HIV/AIDS and other primary health care related services such as blood pressure and glucose testing, cholesterol and haemoglobin testing as well as tuberculosis screening and condom distribution to mobile and other key populations. The nature and the work of a truck driver is such that while on the road, they are required to consistently keep an eye on the cargo they are transporting and to ensure its safe and timely delivery, hence our roadside wellness clinics are conveniently located along these main transport corridors and border posts in order to offer the truckers the luxury of keeping an eye on their cargo while visiting the clinic”.

Through collaboration with the MoHSS and with support from its various partners, WBCG has since offered Covid-19 screening services to well over 6000 cross border truck drivers and 2000 local drivers since April 2020. A further 15000 general community members have also accessed Covid-19 testing services at the WBCG mobile and fixed clinics.

WBCG continues to work with various stakeholders including the media, MoHSS, Global Fund, PEPFAR/USAID, GIZ, UNAIDS, NAMPORT, Lifestyle Unique Design, FHI360, Intrahealth and most importantly the various companies that make use of its health and wellness services.