WHO donates Hepatitis E testing kits to Namibia

05 Dec 2018 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 05 DEC (NAMPA) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has committed close to N.dollars 200 000 worth of kits to the national laboratory to facilitate local testing for Hepatitis E.
Speaking at the handing over of the test kits here on Wednesday, Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku emphasised the need for a multi-faceted and multi-sectoral involvement in battling the virus.
“Only through partnership and collaboration will we win the battle against Hepatitis E. The person in the lab must know what the clinician wants in testing and ask themselves how promptly can I do these tests so I can get the results that can save this person’s life,” he said.
Hepatitis E virus testing for Namibia was previously done in South Africa, which resulted in results being delayed.
The kits and supplies, which were donated to the Namibia Institute of Pathology, will allow clinicians to provide point-of-care diagnosis and treatment of the virus.
The laboratory supplies and kits formed part of a close to N.dollars 3 million commitment by WHO to support the ministry in intensifying its Hepatitis E virus response.
Speaking at the same occasion, WHO Country Representative, Charles Sagoe-Moses said a comprehensive, systematic and sustained community engagement plan is necessary in the battle against Hepatitis E in Namibia.
“The virus outbreak has not been contained since its declaration by the Ministry of Health and Social Services in December 2017 in the Khomas Region,” he said.
The outbreak which started in the Khomas Region and spread to the Erongo, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Kavango regions, has been ongoing for a year and has resulted in nearly 4 000 reported cases countrywide with 35 deaths of which 45 per cent was maternal.
Hepatitis E virus outbreaks occur mainly in areas where people do not have access to safe drinking water, toilet facilities, overcrowded environments and areas where general hygiene is poor such as the DRC informal settlement in Swakopmund and Havana and Goreangab informal settlements where most cases are from.
According to Sagoe-Moses, cases are being reported weekly.