Cholera claims one more life in Kunene

09 Jan 2014 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 09 JAN (NAMPA) – One more person has died of cholera in the Kunene Region, bringing the total to eight, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) announced on Thursday.
The region has been experiencing another outbreak of cholera since last week. The previous outbreak happened in November last year, but no one died.
A statement issued by MoHSS Public Relations Officer (PRO) Esther Paulus here on Thursday said the number of suspected cholera cases has increased from 89 on 16 November last year to 276 on Thursday this week.
However, the number of patients admitted for suspected cholera at the Opuwo District Hospital has gone down to 38 patients on Thursday, from 56 yesterday.
The Opuwo District Hospital has a capacity of only 80 patients, and the total number of patients currently admitted at the hospital was 111.
The Health Ministry has since erected six tents outside the hospital to accommodate all patients suspected to have cholera. All patients admitted for cholera will be moved to tents on Thursday or Friday, once all preparations have been made.
'The main reason for the tents is to isolate suspected cholera patients, because the disease is infectious (water-borne). These patients will have access to all the facilities such as toilets, bathrooms, electricity and running water,” said the ministry in the statement.
The MoHSS has ensured the nation that it has adequate medicine to deal with the outbreak in the region, while calling on all community members with cholera-like symptoms to access health facilities without further delay.
Six teams of health professionals from the Health Ministry, Red Cross, World Health Organisation (WHO), and Centre for Disease Control (CDC) are busy conducting field work in the region to contain the outbreak.
The teams are doing surveillance, public education; case management; referrals of community members to health facilities; and distribution of first aid medicine, such as oral rehydration, water purification tablets, water containers amongst other health services.
A helicopter is expected to reach Kunene by Friday to assist the teams in reaching areas that are not accessible by road.
Residents were again urged not to drink rain water without boiling it first or using water purification tablets.