from AFRED SHILONGO in Windhoek, Namibia
WINDHOEK, (CAJ News) – MORE than 30 people have been killed following an increasing outbreak of hepatitis E in Namibia.
Some 3 674 cases have been reported since December last year.
The outbreak was initially detected in the capital Windhoek district
before spreading to six other regions across the country, namely Erongo, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwen, Oshikoto and Kavango.
Hepatitis E is killing mainly pregnant women, who constitute 14 deaths in a total of 31 deaths countrywide.
Khomas region remains the most affected with a total of 2 553 (69 percent) cases including 24 deaths, reported mainly from informal settlements such as Havana and Goreangab in Windhoek, where access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is limited.
With more stagnant and surface water anticipated during the upcoming rainy season, which begins in November, the risk for further transmission of the disease will likely increase due to use of these water sources for drinking and other domestic purposes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged government of Namibia and partners to scale up efforts to ensure improved access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.
“Strengthening community engagements and risk communications to promote behavioural change and community ownership must be mainstreamed into the package of interventions needed to bring this outbreak under control,” a WHO spokesperson stated.
A liver disease, hepatitis E is transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water.
– CAJ News