WINDHOEK – Namibia is still not out of the woods as far as the Hepatitis E disease is concerned, hence Minister of Health and Social Services Kalumbi Shangula has urged the nation to be aware of potential outbreaks.
Hepatitis E is a disease acquired when a person consumes food or liquids that are contaminated with the Hepatitis E virus.
Speaking at the World Health Day commemoration in Windhoek yesterday, the minister urged residents of Khomas Region in particular to remain vigilant and practice good hygiene in order to control the outbreak. According to the health ministry records, so far, the disease has claimed 41 lives, most of whom are pregnant and post-delivery women. Shangula said that the ministry recently re-launched a national campaign to combat Hepatitis E and asked the nation to support this effort. He added: “This means, among other things, doing away with open defecation where it is practiced and ensuring that our people wash their hands regularly, especially after visiting the toilet.”
The minister stated that the outbreak is a serious public health threat and it must be treated as such.
Shangula is concerned that Namibia is among the league of counties where the disease is found in the world such as Central African Republic and South Sudan. He said: “The most effective weapon against Hepatitis is to wash hands after toilet and before meal”.
World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Charles Sagoe-Moses commented that WHO aims to increase access to quality health care to one billion more people and provide financial protection by 2023 in a deliberate effort to reach Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Sagoe-Moses mentioned that SDGs target 3.8 percent on achieving universal health coverage by 2030.
Shangula emphasized that everyone should have the information and services they need to take care of their own health and the health of their families. “We have the responsibility to address inequity in the health in order to make a huge difference and make significant steps toward vision 2030 and SDGs. By putting all our efforts and resources together and pulling in the same direction, we are bound to succeed, so the time is now,” said the minister after urging people to take Universal Health Care as a reality in people’s lives.