Health Ministry forks out N$4.7 million for Hepatitis E outbreak as poor sanitation continues to fuel the disease
Cases of Hepatitis E in the capital’s informal sector have risen to 490, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku said this week.
Out of the 490 cases, 166 people tested positive, while another 308 epidemiological cases were reported in households where infected people lived.
Haufiku said that the spread of the disease is fueled by poor sanitation, adding that the outbreak has caused two maternal deaths, with majority of the cases coming from the Havana and Goreangab settlements.
The ministry said that 68% households in the country’s informal settlements still practice open defecation, and that 92% of households in the informal sector collect water from communal taps and 2% from unsafe water sources, compared with 6% that have household taps.
The ministry encouraged the community in affected areas to continue with preventative measures including purifying drinking water and practicing healthy sanitary exercises.
“The outbreak control and disease prevention activities are still ongoing, such as coordination, surveillance, case detection and management, wash and environmental health and social mobilization,” Haufiku said.
The government has thus far spent N$4.7 million to control the hepatitis E outbreak and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has also donated US$60,400 to the cause.
During the week ending on 13 October 2017, the first identified case was admitted to a public hospital in Windhoek district, with signs and symptoms of Hepatitis E.
Furthermore, although hepatitis A, B, and C are common in Namibia, hepatitis E is rarely diagnosed in the country. As a result, the country has limited capacity for hepatitis E laboratory diagnosis.