• June 17th, 2019
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Haufiku to coordinate Hepatitis E response

WINDHOEK - The former Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, who is now the special advisor on health in the office of the vice-president, has been assigned to coordinate the hepatitis E response campaign among stakeholders. 

This announcement was made by the recently appointed Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, who yesterday made his first public speech as health minister, at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting on hepatitis E outbreak control last week Thursday. 

Haufiku declared hepatitis E an outbreak in Windhoek in December 2017, said Shangula. 
“Haufiku will be knocking on your doors in this regard. He is part of the response team. Please give him your full cooperation,” said Shangula.  The former minister, Haufiku, added that he was delighted and thankful to be re-united with the health sector.  
The virus, which is transmitted through the faecal-oral route, is persisting and although Windhoek’s informal settlements are the epicentre of the disease, it has spread to other regions. Cases of hepatitis E have been reported in all regions, with the exception of //Kharas and Zambezi. 

“This is a unique situation that the outbreak is in more than one place at the same time,” said Haufiku. 
Despite this challenge, there are two things to look at, said Haufiku. 

“One is to never give up until the battle is won and the other one is to be persistent,” said Haufiku. 
It does not require rocket science to fight the outbreak, it only requires implementation of simple methods,” said Haufiku. 
This would include change of attitude and handwashing, highlighted Haufiku. There are issues such as poverty alleviation that require long-term solutions, said Haufiku, however, deaths related to hepatitis E can be prevented, noted Haufiku. 

A coordinating committee and a working group at district and regional level need to be activated, he said. The directors of health at regional level should be more involved in fighting the disease and demand accountability to the people that are involved, added Haufiku. 

Shangula reiterated, “The decisive factor in the total eradication of Hepatitis E in Namibia is the individual person. For this to happen, there must be a complete change of mindset. Observing elementary hygiene is personal. The solution is within each individual.”

Alvine Kapitako
2019-02-11 09:44:25 4 months ago

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