• July 21st, 2019
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Namibia on alert for Zim cholera - Haufiku

WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Health and Social Services is on alert mode to deal with cholera, should the deadly infectious disease spill over from neighbouring Zimbabwe where it has killed 30 people in recent weeks.
Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency over the outbreak.

Health minister Dr Bernard Haufiku made the announcement in the National Assembly this week.
The ministry of health issued an alert to health workers at all public health facilities and ports of entry in an effort to intensify surveillance, Haufiku told parliamentarians. 

Although the disease has been reported in other provinces, Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, remains the epicenter. 
“The government of Zimbabwe has since declared a state of emergency and public gatherings have been banned in light of the outbreak as a strategy to prevent further spread,” Haufiku informed parliament.  

He saidcholera is one of the immediate notifiable diseases under integrated disease surveillance and response in Namibia. 
“Therefore, vigilance is applied at all times,” he added.  The minister said health care workers were also alerted to be on the lookout for high risk potential.  “At least one staff member from the epidemiology division took part in the African Union Southern Africa coordinating regional center cholera strategy technical workshop, which deals with prevention and control of cholera,” he said on Tuesday.

Cholera, just like Hepatitis E, has oral fecal route as its mode of transmission, Haufiku highlighted.  “Hepatitis E outbreak in Namibia has prompted the formation of an outbreak response team,” he added. 
The team consists of coordination, surveillance and laboratory services, case management and infection and prevention control, social mobilisation, water, sanitation and hygiene, stated Haufiku.

“These teams have been activated in all Hepatitis E affected regions and can be used to respond to cholera outbreak should it occur in Namibia. There are educational materials available in various indigenous languages on cholera and the main one is handwashing and avoidance of gatherings and food that is cooked in masses,” Haufiku shared.

The confirmation of a single case of cholera requires the formation of a cholera treatment center, he added.  The last cholera outbreak experienced in Namibia was in 2013-2014 in Kunene and Khomas regions.  Poor and dilapidated sanitation facilities result in sporadic cholera outbreaks in Africa.

Alvine Kapitako
2018-09-20 07:10:09 10 months ago

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