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Africa embraces project ECHO to tackle health challenges – Namibia championing HIV fight through project

Africa embraces project ECHO to tackle health challenges – Namibia championing HIV fight through project

Project ECHO, a collaborative learning and practice platform dedicated to improving health care delivery in the world’s poorest and most undeserved areas, will conduct an immersion workshop training on 18 to 19 February in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Around 75 public health care leaders and providers across Africa who want to use the ECHO model to reduce disease and improve health in their communities, will be attending.

The first African ECHO was launched in Namibia in 2015 and has grown to nearly two dozen programmes run by local hubs in 13 countries, Ministries of Health all over the continent are recognising the potential of the ECHO model to more effectively build workforce capacity across health systems.

Namibia has adapted the model to address HIV service issues such as linkage to care, delivery service models and treatment of patients with high viral loads, therefore it is part of a larger effort to improve care and treatment of the estimated 37 million people living with HIV world.

Bruce Struminger, Managing Director, who leads the ECHO Institute’s initiative in Africa said their movement in Africa is expanding rapidly across countries, across regions and across disease programme areas.

“Most exciting is the development of critical communication, collaboration and capacity, building networks both across and within countries that allow senior health officials from multiple sectors to work together in a new, more direct way to address problems on the ground,” he added.

Chief Clinical Mentor at the Ministry of Health and Social Service’s National HIV Programme, Dr Leonard Bikinesi, said Project ECHO has proven to be one of the most useful tools the ministry is using to build capacity of health care workers and improve quality of health care services for patients.

The ministry piloted the project to expand HIV services delivery at sites with high HIV prevalence. They have over a year engaged over 100 providers in ten state hospitals around the country in weekly teleECHO sessions on HIV care and treatment.

Namibia’s health ministry did this so successfully that, after its conclusion in September 2016, the ministry expanded it to other site.

The project in the country is now in its third year and has more than 40 sites participating in the weekly ECHO sessions.


About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and is working on her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She believes education is the greatest equalizer. She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.