Informal settlements pose a challenge to Hepatitis E fight: Councillor

03 Aug 2018 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 03 AUG (NAMPA) - The overcrowded nature of informal settlements makes it difficult to curb Hepatitis E, the councillor of the Moses Garoëb Constituency in Windhoek, Martin David has said.
Speaking at a public lecture by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on viral Hepatitis here on Friday, David said as long as people live in informal settlements without proper sanitation facilities, the fight against the virus is futile.
Viral Hepatitis is liver inflammation caused by a viral infection. It is transmitted through the faecal-oral route.
David said the infection rate keeps increasing because people have to share public toilets and communal taps, while in some areas there are no toilets at all.
He said one of the solutions to eliminating Hepatitis by 2030 as per the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to demarcate land for residents.
“If land is demarcated in informal settlements it will make provision for land servicing in order to provide basic services. People can build their corrugated iron houses with toilets inside,” he said.
The councillor further stated that toilets provided by the City of Windhoek are not functioning due to vandalism by members of the community.
“People also do not know who should clean the toilets. Up to 20 people are sharing one toilet,” David said.
At the same occasion, Dr Lilliane Kahuika of the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ epidemiology division confirmed that new cases of Hepatitis E have been recorded, the majority in informal settlements.
She said since 2013, 2 465 cases have been recorded, with the highest number recorded in the Khomas Region (1 967) and of this number, 118 were laboratory confirmed.
“Hepatitis E is not a Ministry of Health issue alone, everyone should take part in the fight, from community members to different stakeholders,” Kahuika said.
The public lecture was held in observance of World Hepatitis Day, which was commemorated on 28 July.