WINDHOEK - Recent statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Social Services indicated there are 3,630 cases of hepatitis E virus in seven of the country’s 14 regions.
Khomas tops the list with 2,542, Erongo has 638, Omusati 219, Oshana 81, Ohangwena and Oshikoto 56 and Kavango (Rundu and Andara) each has 38 cases.
Dr Lilliane Kahuika, an epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, said the data is based on the most recent statistics from the National Hepatitis E situational report compiled every week.
Thirty-one deaths were recorded of which 14 were maternal deaths.
The most affected age groups are those aged 20-39 years at 47 percent, followed by the 35-44 years at 26 percent and 15 percent among teenagers and young adults. The least affected age group is children under 15 years with cases at three percent.
“Although the public health response has been initiated, it has not been able to contain the hepatitis E virus outbreak in the country,” says the situational report.
On the contrary, it has become protracted and it is spreading to other informal settlements in Windhoek and to other towns in the country, according to a report from the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The report recommends community-led total sanitation to ensure communities do adequately participate in the process to appreciate the need and ownership of constructed water supply and sanitation facilities.
“Massive scale-up of hygiene and sanitation promotion campaigns, access to safe water and water treatment at points of collection, promotion of hand washing with soap, dignity kits for pregnant women, regulation of open market food selling in the affected areas are urgently needed to prevent further spread of the outbreak, especially in the informal settlements,” recommends the report.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services declared a hepatitis E outbreak on 14 December 2017.