Namibia: Over 600 Battle Skin Disease in Kavango

21 October 2020

Rundu — In the past nine months, about 634 cases of scabies have been recorded among the San community in the two Kavango regions, with the highest numbers reported in the Ndama informal settlement in Rundu.

Dr Abiola Adesina, the chief medical officer for the two Kavango regions has confirmed that the cases were reported at 10 health facilities with Ndama clinic in Rundu having recorded the most cases at 158 cases.

Adesina added that Nkarapamwe clinic recorded 60 cases, Kaisosi clinic 48, Rundu clinic 32, and the Kayengona clinic located 10km east of Rundu recorded 30 cases.

In the Kavango West region, 105 cases were reported at Bunya health centre and Mile 30 clinic with 72 cases, 74 cases were reported at Katjinakatji clinic while Mile 10 clinic recorded 28 cases in addition to Mupini health centre with 27 cases, according to Adesina.

Scabies is an itchy, highly contagious skin disease caused by an infestation by the itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei. Direct skin-to-skin contact is the mode of transmission.

Severe and relentless itching is the predominant symptom of scabies. According to experts, poor sanitation is key to spreading of the infection.

"If untreated, these microscopic mites can live on your skin for months. They reproduce on the surface of your skin and then burrow into it and lay eggs. This causes an itchy, red rash to form on the skin, in-between fingers and toes, mostly on the feet and buttocks with some raw areas consistent with impetiginized scabies," Adesina said.

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Services, people mostly at risk are those living in informal settlements and villages where there is no proper sanitation and without clean drinking water.

Poor personal hygiene is one of the risk factors that can lead to getting infected with scabies, said Adesina.

A team of health experts has since been dispatched to affected areas, to provide screening and afford the affected people with support treatment.

They also provided health education to the affected communities on practising personal and environmental hygiene such as taking a bath every day with soap, wash blankets with hot water and soap, clean their surroundings, and regular hand washing.

"The region has conducted training for all the life skilled teachers and school principals in Kavango East region in the 2018/2019 financial year. Training was also conducted for the health extension workers on diagnosis and management of scabies in the community," he said.

"The report was shared with Rundu Town Council and Kavango East Regional Council, respectively for necessary actions."

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