Cholera outbreak kills five people in Kunene

03 Jan 2014 18:10pm
OPUWO, 03 JAN (NAMPA) - Five people have died of cholera, while close to 50 are being treated following an outbreak of the disease in the Kunene Region on Tuesday.
The worst hit area is the Etanga village in the Epupa Constituency.
Four of the five people who lost their lives to cholera are from the Etanga area, which is 100 kilometres west of Opuwo.
The other victim is from the Okangwati settlement, about 120km south of Opuwo, also in the Epupa Constituency.
Three cases of cholera have been confirmed with tests from five of the deceased people.
About 48 patients are currently being treated for suspected cholera or related illnesses at the Opuwo State Hospital, which is now awaiting an influx of patients with cholera symptoms from the Etanga village.
A lack of medical staff and transportation, water and electricity at the Etanga Clinic is said to be factor in the deteriorating situation there.
Only one nurse is manning the Etanga Clinic.
The nurse, Kauta Koruhama, said more than 20 patients have been referred to the Opuwo State Hospital with cholera symptoms.
By Friday, two cases have also been reported in Opuwo, as well as the Otjisokotjongava, Epembe, Okondaunwe, Ovinjange and Otjakati village.
Approached for comment, Mbeumuna Muhuka, the personal assistant of regional governor Joshua Hoebeb, told Nampa on Friday that the hospital will sent one car to Etanga to assist in the transportation of patients to the Opuwo Hospital.
“I was also briefed that an extra nurse would be sent to Etanga on Saturday to assist in the treatment of patients as they arrive there,” said Muhuka.
Plans to set up an isolation area at Etanga for suspected cholera cases are hampered by the lack of water, electricity and manpower there.
An isolation camp will now be set up in Opuwo as soon as tents arrive from the Omusati Region.
In the meantime, community members are called upon to clean their hands after using the toilet, and to avoid drinking water from the earth dams without boiling it first. They should use purification tablets for water, and wash their hands before eating.
Currently, the Opuwo State Hospital wards are full to capacity, with some patients are being accommodated in the television room of the hospital.
A team of medical personnel from the Opuwo State Hospital have since been sent to investigate the cholera outbreak while awaiting assistance from the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Windhoek.
The last case of cholera reported in the Kunene Region was in July 2013. No person died - all were treated and discharged.
(NAMPA)
TKK/ND