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Astronomers and doctors of Radboud University support Covid care in Namibia

Date of news: 8 July 2021

The Radboud University and Radboud University Medical Center are sending four ventilators to Namibia, which is severely affected by Covid-19. The country is in the midst of a third wave of the corona pandemic and the number of infections continues to rise.

Astronomers from Radboud University have been collaborating with colleagues from the University of Namibia (UNAM) for several years to build the Africa Millimeter Telescope (AMT) at the Gamsberg mountain. They care deeply about Namibia. Together with the Radboud University Medical Center, they have started an action to send medical equipment to Namibia to help with the fight against Covid-19.

Prof. Kenneth Matengu, vice-chancellor of UNAM, told the team that eleven staff members and five students of the university have died in the past two weeks. The situation in the rest of the country is no better. “We cannot be idle while the virus causes so much suffering. We have to do something!” says Dr. Marc Klein Wolt, Managing Director of the AMT.

In consultation with the Embassy of Namibia in Brussels and the honorary consul of Namibia in the Netherlands, the team of astronomers and medical experts at Radboud joined forces to identify what help is currently needed in Namibia and what expertise and equipment the partners can provide.

Radboud University Medical Centre has offered to donate four ventilators to UNAM. On Wednesday 7 July, the equipment will be on its way to Katutura Hospital in Windhoek, with which UNAM has close ties. Also after this first action, consultations will continue with UNAM, the Namibian diplomatic representatives in Europe, and the team at Radboud in order to continuously assess what help is needed, and how Radboud’s astronomers and medical experts can contribute.

Dr. Marc Klein Wolt & Radboudumc technicians load up respirators

Image: Bert Beelen

Contributing to this project

Prof. Heino Falcke, co-founder of the Event Horizon Telescope and the AMT: “The preparation of a scientific experiment is never just about instruments and facilities. It is also about people, human connections and partnerships. In a situation like this, it is impossible to stand by while a disaster unfolds. There is a time to do science, and a time to help each other to save as many lives as possible. This is clearly the time to help in any way we can.”

Anybody who wants to support Radboud University and the Radboud University Medical Center to fight Covid-19 can make a donation through the Radboud Fund for research into the corona virus, and to purchase resources to help Namibia fight this pandemic.