Opuwo hospital overcrowded due to cholera outbreak

08 Jan 2014 10:10am
OPUWO, 08 JAN (NAMPA) – The Opuwo State Hospital is so overcrowded due to the cholera outbreak in the Kunene Region that patients are now sleeping on the floor and in the television rooms of the male and female wards
The Acting Director of Health for the Kunene Region, Ndahepele Jason told Nampa on Monday the wards were full and three tents from the Namibia Red Cross Society that were erected on the hospital premises to be used as alternative wards could not be utilised due to a lack of mattresses.
The mattresses which were expected to arrive from Windhoek on Tuesday had not yet arrived when this news agency visited the hospital on Tuesday at around 18h00.
So far, seven fatalities have been recorded in connection with the outbreak.
Nampa understands that besides the admitted patients, an average of five new cases are registered per day as people suspected to have cholera are turning up at the hospital seeking medical treatment.
Cholera is an acute illness with profuse watery diarrhoea symptoms caused by Vibrio Cholerae sero groups, and is a highly infectious diarrheal disease.
The disease is transmitted mainly through the faecal-oral route - through eating and drinking contaminated food or water.
A media statement issued on Tuesday by Ministry of Health Public Relations Officer Esther Paulus said three confirmed Vibrio Cholerae cases, and seven suspected cholera deaths (four deaths from the community and three deaths from the Opuwo District Hospital) have been reported.
Between 16 and 18 November 2013, numerous cases of diarrhoea were being treated at health facilities in the Kunene Region, and all patients with cholera-like symptoms were tested, but the results were negative for Vibrio Cholerae.
The statement further said that from 02 to 12 December 2013, numerous patients with diarrhoea were treated at various health facilities in that region, and specimen for tests were done on all patients with diarrhoea and other cholera-like symptoms. Vibrio Cholerae was confirmed in five patients.
“The region had an overall 89 cases of suspected cholera during the period of 16 November 2013 to 05 January 2014,” read the statement, adding that the Opuwo District Hospital currently has 56 suspected cholera patients admitted there.
The Health Ministry has sent out a team of health experts throughout the region for surveillance, treatment, health promotion, education and for referral of community members with suspected cholera symptoms to health facilities.
More health professionals are expected to be dispatched into the field as from Tuesday this week to areas that are not easily accessible.