Feature: Access to health information aids Namibian rural dwellers in COVID-19 fight

by Ndalimpinga Iita

WINDHOEK, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Accessible and precautionary health information is enabling rural dwellers in Namibia to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Beatha Tobias, a 25 years old dweller at a village in Oshikoto region in the northern part of Namibia, said that she was able to observe and comply with COVID-19 protocols due to easily accessible information on COVID-19.

The internet-savvy youth said a lot of information on COVID-19 is readily available on the internet such as the health ministry's Twitter and Facebook pages.

According to Tobias, with such information, she has been able to consistently wear a mask and observe other provisions such as social distancing, sanitizing, and regular hand washing.

"I also share such information with members of our household and other villagers to ensure we all protect each other as a community," she added.

She is not the only one. For Tomas Shikongo from a village in Ohangwena region, northern Namibia, the indigenous radio station by a national broadcaster has been instrumental in equipping him with information promptly.

"I am not comfortable using the internet, so my main source is radio, especially the shows broadcast live the update on the daily COVID-19 cases by the Namibian government," said the 50 years old Shikongo.

The update is provided daily via the government information center, established on April 2 as part of efforts to inform the citizens on emerging developments on the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, according to Shikongo, when the sessions are narrated in the indigenous language by the presenters, he calls all family members to gather around the radio and listen.

"I call all my family members and neighbors to listen to the radio because it takes a community to curb the spread of COVID-19," he added.

Emma Theofelus, Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology said the center has had 268 sessions, featuring over 240 institutions since June.

"Through the center, we have been able to amplify awareness about the novel coronavirus in the country," Theofelus said.

In the interim, community members vowed to continuously seek information and foster a culture of compliance in their communities.

"If I can influence the person who was initially ignorant, I would be grateful," said Tobias.

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