More cholera cases reported in Kunene

06 Jan 2014 19:20pm
OPUWO, 06 JAN (NAMPA) – The number of cholera cases in the Kunene Region has increased to 107 from the 85 reported on Sunday afternoon.
The number of fatalities remains at seven.
At least 28 of the 60 patients admitted to the State hospital at Opuwo for treatment since 28 December have been discharged.
The acting Director of Health in the Kunene Region, Ndahepele Jason told Nampa in an interview on Monday some of the patients who were admitted more recently were just treated at clinics and sent back home.
He said the Directorate of Health is receiving support from different stakeholders, mostly the Office of the Governor, the Namibia Red Cross Society, and the Kunene Regional Council.
“Five tents are still expected from the Omusati Region so we can establish a cholera isolation camp or facilities at the hospital premises,” Jason said.
Of the seven people who have died of the disease, four died at Etanga village some 100 kilometres away from Opuwo in the Epupa Constituency, where people resorted to drinking water from contaminated earth dams or traditional wells due to a lack of proper water facilities. The clinic there has also been battling with treatment of cholera patients due to this lack of water.
The only functioning source of water which supplies Government institutions at the village ran dry.
Jason on Monday said the water shortage at the Etanga clinic has been temporarily solved with containers of water being transported from Opuwo to the clinic.
“We sent out an investigation team to determine the source of the outbreak so we can establish if it is an imported infection or if it originated from within the region,” he noted.
He indicated that they have asked for a helicopter from Windhoek to help them access areas in the Epupa Constituency which are not easy to travel to by road.
Jason called on the Kunene community to focus more on prevention to avoid contracting the disease.
“People should practice hygiene in its highest order to avoid being infected with the disease,” added Jason.
Most cholera patients admitted to the hospital are from the Etanga area, and two extra nurses have been sent to Etanga to assist the nurse currently stationed there.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is also hard at work to try and rehabilitate the borehole there after it ran dry last year.
The other borehole at the village was used by the South African army prior to Independence, but has since been abandoned.
Officials from the ministry’s Department of Rural Water Supply visited Etanga on Saturday to determine what can be done to get the borehole to function again so it can start supplying water as soon as possible.