Epupa councillor not spared by cholera outbreak

10 Jan 2014 11:50am
OPUWO, 10 JAN (NAMPA) - The councillor of the Epupa Constituency, Nguzu Muharukua has not been spared by the cholera outbreak in the Kunene Region.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services on Thursday announced that the number of suspected cholera cases has increased from 89 on 16 November last year to 276.
Muharukua told Nampa on Wednesday that he has been treating himself with oral rehydration salts (ORS) since Monday after he started to experienced cholera symptoms.
ORS is a sodium and glucose solution which is diluted in clean water.
“The outbreak is serious. I am also struggling with the disease’s effect on many people in my constituency in the areas of Etanga and Okangwati,” Muharukua noted.
The Epupa Constituency is the hardest hit constituency in the Kunene Region.
The Opuwo District Hospital remained overcrowded on Thursday, with 111 patients in the wards of the hospital which has the capacity to treat only 80 patients.
However, the number of patients admitted for suspected cholera at the hospital decreased to 38 on Thursday from 56 on Wednesday.
According to a media statement issued by Health Ministry, six tents have been erected at the hospital for cholera patients, but they are still not in use due to a shortage of mattresses which were supposed to be brought from Windhoek.
The ministry has called on community members who experience cholera symptoms not to wait too long before visiting health facilities as there is enough medication in the region to treat patients at all of the facilities.
Six teams of health professionals from the Health Ministry, Namibia Red Cross Society, World Health Organisation (WHO), and Centre for Disease Control (CDC) are busy conducting field work in the region to contain the outbreak.
“They are calling on all community members with cholera-like symptoms to access health facilities without further delay as part of trying to stop the further spread of the outbreak,” the ministry’s public relations officer, Esther Paulus said in the statement.
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, and water containers, amongst other health services.