Haufiku to head national Hepatitis E control campaign

07 Feb 2019 16:20pm
WINDHOEK 07 FEB (NAMPA) – Former Health and Social Services Minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku has been appointed as the coordinator of the national Hepatitis E campaign and will lead the outbreak’s control activities.
This was announced by the new Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula at a consultative meeting on the Hepatitis E outbreak on Thursday.
He explained that Haufiku’s appointment is as a result of the regions that do not have response plans, while others have not implemented it as well as infrequent community surveillance and contact tracing.
“The Rapid Assessment of the response to Hepatitis E that was carried out in October 2018 in the Erongo, Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena, Kavango, Omusati and Khomas regions, revealed some weaknesses in our response to the outbreak,” Shangula said.
On his part, Haufiku who welcomed the appointment, said he will have a hands-on approach and is ready to give the nation shock therapy in response to this emergency.
“We (will) go out there, take off our ties, wear short sleeves (shirts) and go into the community and this is my perception and how I am going to approach it,” he added.
Haufiku will coordinate support from partners such as the World Health Organisation, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, United Nations Population Fund, Red Cross, Government ministries as well as local authorities and private companies.
He is also expected to develop an outbreak response plan and an activity budget at national and regional levels.
As of 27 January 2019, a total number of 4 432 cases of Hepatitis E have been reported in Namibia with 40 deaths.
The death toll is disproportionately highest among pregnant and post-partum women, constituting 17 cases of 42,5 per cent of the fatalities.