The president of Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Mr Bisey Uirab handed over 21 tonnes of emergency oxygen during an event that took place today at Katutura State Hospital.

“We are gathered here this morning to handover this first 21 tonne tank of Oxygen to the Government, via the Ministry of Health and Social Services,” Mr Uirab said.

“This donation forms part of the Namibian private sector emergency response to support Government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which is threatening and taking the lives of our citizens at an alarming rate.”

The private sector, led by the NCCI, launched an immediate response in order to tackle the shortage of medical oxygen at public hospitals as a result of the ravaging effects of Covid-19.

In an assessment spearheaded by the NCCI involving private sector stakeholders and supported by the Ministry of Health and Social Services as well as the Ministry of Finance the most urgent need that was identified was the supply of bulk oxygen into Namibia.

“This first 21 tonne load sourced from Kryogas has arrived this morning and we are here to officially handover the consignment to the Minister of Health and Social Services. This initial tonnage of liquid oxygen will be used to fill up the bulk storage tank at the Katatura State Hospital, with the remaining amount being distributed to other hospitals in critically short supply,” the business leader said.

“We want to reassure you, Honorable Minister and the Government of Namibia, of our commitment as Business Namibia to continue to support the Government in advancing health security at this critical time.

“We also congratulate you, Honorable Minister, and your team for the strong leadership in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCCI continues to mobilise support from within the Namibian private sector to ensure that we are in a position to offset the shortfall through sponsorship and donations towards the costs and logistics surrounding critical oxygen supply into our country.

“We are informed that as it stands the current medical oxygen shortfall in Namibia is between 150 and 180 tonnes per month.

“We have thus cooperated with other key players to work out a strategy on how we can ensure that this shortfall is eliminated and that the oxygen is delivered and distributed to the most-needy hospitals and facilities in the fastest turn-around time.”

The liquid oxygen was acquired through Afrox and Kryogas from the Air Products facility in Johannesburg.

The NCCI leader explained that the turn-around time for each truck carrying oxygen ISO containers is expected to be one week, meaning that the consortium of suppliers will be in a position to provide additional trucks on a weekly cycle. The private sector has committed itself to continue the same supply every week, delivering up to the end of September.

The first 20 tonne consignment of oxygen which arrived on the 24th June 2021 has been fully sponsored by the kind contribution of Namdeb, through its CEO Mr. Riaan Burger. Innovaite, a private sector logistics company, carried out all of the clearing, forwarding and logistics associated with this consignment, and will continue to do so for all future consignments.

Namdeb and Innovaite’s contribution was done free of charge and entirely in the patriotic interest of the country, while the NCCI and B2Gold, through the Chamber of Mines will in the same manner be coordinating the logistics on behalf of the coalition.

“We are approaching other large private sector companies to sponsor all future weekly loads from Afrox and Kryogas Namibia with the objective of entirely eliminating the shortfall of oxygen in the country,” stated the Managing Director of B2Gold Namibia, Mr. Mark Dawe.

In the photo: NCCI’s president Bisey Uirab and Minister of Health and Social Services Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, with their respective aides, pose for a photo after the handover.