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Hepatitis E killed three times more people than Corona

Hepatitis E killed three times more people than Corona

The gross neglect of other diseases in the face of Corona, came to the fore this week when the Ministry of Health and Social Services indicated in a statement that Hepatitis E has killed 65 people up to 28 June and infected almost double the number of people infected with Corona.

“As of 28 June 2020, over seven thousand (7000) Hepatitus E virus cases have been reported, with the majority still from informal settlements in Windhoek (62%) and Swakopmund (21%). Sixty five (65) deaths were reported of which twenty six (26) are maternal deaths,” according to the statistics given by the official statement.

Now the ministry has suddenly woken up to the danger of neglected diseases, saying that it will renew its effort to arrest the spread of the Hepatitus E virus with the help of the Embassy of Japan, and the World Health Organization. This virus was first reported on 14 December 2017, a full two years before any sign of Corona.

The ministry received N$4 million from the Japanese Government to try and contain Hepatitus E through a regional programme to strengthen health services capacity.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Hon Dr Kalumbi Shangula, described the project as having a “spin-off” effect for the COVID-19 response, adding that over the past three years the ministry has dealt with various disease outbreaks.

The project will be implemented in the Khomas, Erongo, Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango East and Kavango West regions by the World Health Organisation in partnership with the ministry for a period of 12 months.

Some of the Japanese funding will also be used to address health issues which came about as a result of last year’s drought. The ministry’s records indicate that 50% of all children weighed between April 2018 and March 2019 were moderately malnourished while 11% were severely malnourished. The records also show that 10% of the 2860 children admitted at health facilities due to severe malnutrition, died.

Caption: Present at the launch of the project to strengthen health services capacity, from the left, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Hon Dr Kalumbi Shangula, the World Health Organisation’s representative in Namibia, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses and the Ambassador of Japan, HE Hideaki Harada.


 

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.