Hopeful Ebola volunteers accuse Namibia’s ministry of turning them away

17th Feb 2015 Namibia’s health sector has had to defend itself against accusations by some people, particularly a vocal group of four friends, who claimed to have been eager to volunteer their services in Ebola Affected countries, but were surprisingly turned away from registering last month.

29-year-old Benson Ndaningina, one of the disappointed applicants, said contrary to what some people were insinuating about some volunteers going in just for the money, he has no such illegal motives. He is quoted as saying, “I see fellow Africans dying and in need of help and that is the reason I wanted to volunteer. I don’t even know how much people will be paid, I just wanted to go and help. It is very disturbing for me to see people dying and we just look at the situation like it is not our problem.”

When Benson was asked if he is afraid of getting infected, he said hundreds of people who have been on the mission in West Africa were still hale and hearty, adding that “If I do get infected and I die there, then it is my time to die, and I would know it was for a good cause,

Although Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services made a call to Namibians in December last year to volunteer in Ebola-stricken countries, Namibia is yet to send volunteers or any team of medical personnel to the countries. The country however has given 11 million Namibian dollars to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone through the African Union, so far.

Spokesperson for the ministry Esther Paulus, has said that negotiations with the relevant ministries and stakeholders were still ongoing and that the ministry itself does not have enough health professionals to send out. The sector is still looking at other ways of getting the needed human resources.

She is quoted as saying “The ministry is still busy with the verifying process of the volunteers’ applications and we are also still in talks with relevant ministries, such as Home Affairs and Immigration, and other stakeholders such as the World Health Organization and the African Union. We still have to come to conclusions about the terms and conditions, remuneration packages and whether the country is ready to send people out.”

The United Nations has said that Nigeria has given more than three point five million US dollars million towards the Ebola response in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as countries like Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya. Some of these countries and more have also sent volunteers and health personnel to the regions affected.

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