WINDHOEK, FEB 8 – Over 4 000 cases of Hepatitis E have been recorded in Namibia as from 2017, Namibia’s health minister said on yesterday.
During a consultative stakeholders’ meeting, Namibia’s Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula said that a further 40 deaths were recorded , 17 of those among pregnant women.
An increases in cases presenting with acute jaundice was noted from September 2017 in Windhoek district in the country’s Khomas region in September 2017, culminating in the declaration of an outbreak by the ministry on 14 December 2017.
“The outbreak continued in Windhoek through to March 2018. From April 2018, cases spread to other regions such as Erongo, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Kavango and Ohangwena regions,” according to the Minister.
Other regions have also reported sporadic cases, namely Otjozondjupa, Hardap and Kunene regions.
Shangula noted that cases were reported mainly from informal settlements and in regions where access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is limited.
“As of 27 January 2019, a total of 4432 HEV (Hepatitis E Virus) cases have been reported. A total of 40 deaths (of which) 17 were maternal deaths, pregnant and post-pactum,” said Shangula.
The health ministry has activated national and regional health emergency management committees as well as rapid response teams to conduct outbreak investigations.
In addition, an outbreak response plan has been developed and an activity budget at national and regional levels.
Moreover, a knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) survey was conducted by the University of Namibia and University of Cardiff, Wales in the Omusati region.
“Treatment algorithms for clinicians have been distributed and are in use and regional and disctrict surveliance teams continue to conduct health education, case tracing, mapping and reporting of HEV cases.” – firstname.lastname@example.org