14 February 2018

Namibia: Ongwediva Mitigates Cholera, Hepatitis E

Ongwediva — Following the twin outbreak of cholera and hepatitis E in Windhoek, the Ongwediva Town Council plans to embark on an awareness campaign on Valentine's Day, which is today.

The first hepatitis E case hit the country in October, while cholera surfaced at the end of January.

Public relations officer at the Ministry of Health and Social Services Manga Libita said only one case of cholera was detected in a 10-year-old boy, but further cases have not surfaced.

She said the boy is doing fine and has since returned to school.

The sensitisation campaign will educate residents on how to protect themselves against contracting the two diseases.

Public relations officer at Ongwediva Jackson Muma said although no cases were reported in the town the council deemed it important to sensitise residents on personal and environmental hygiene.

Council thus invited members of the public to attend the various meetings scheduled in the town.

Muma added that the success of the campaign will depend on the cooperation of the general public and their response to fight any outbreak, saying that ill health has a negative impact on development.

"Community talks will be arranged in various parts of the town to sensitise the public on the spread and prevention of the two diseases," said Muma.

So far, 643 cases of hepatitis E have been recorded and three fatalities confirmed.

Over half of the cases were recorded in Havana and Goreangab informal settlements in Windhoek where there is overcrowding and basic hygiene is poor in the settlements.

A report by the health ministry singles out mushrooming of informal settlements and delayed reporting of cases as the major challenges to curbing the spread of the disease.

"Challenges include illegal mushrooming of informal settlements, without corresponding provision of adequate access to safe water and appropriate sanitation facilities," reads the report.

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