Hepatitis E battle intensifies

09 September 2019 | Health

STAFF REPORTER

Development partners came together in a big way this past weekend to support the elimination of hepatitis E in Namibia.

United Nations (UN) Namibia, the health ministry, the City of Windhoek, Development Workshop Namibia and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are collaborating to positively impact the lives of residents.

Together with community members from the Samora Marchel and Moses Garoeb constituencies in the Khomas Region, the partners commemorated World Hepatitis Day on Saturday and simultaneously launched the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) campaign, to increase access to safe sanitation in informal settlements.

Following the declaration of a health emergency in December 2017, due to the hepatitis outbreak, there has been an increased focus on inadequate water supply and poor sanitation, which are reported to be the main drivers of the outbreak in the informal settlements.

According to a joint press release by the partners involved the CLTS launch, the initiative signals Namibia's commitment to fighting viral hepatitis.

This innovative approach mobilises community members in the two constituencies to eliminate open defecation.

It places the focus on mobilising behaviour change, to ensure sustainable improvements that go beyond the provision of toilets.

CLTS triggers the need for collective change and a self-assessment process, through which communities can better understand the risk of disease and the dangers of open defecation. Furthermore, it creates a greater sense of community ownership, in terms of considering their own wellbeing.

Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe emphasised the need for communities to work together, to ensure the total elimination of the disease.

Additionally, he thanked the Japanese government for supporting Namibia, in its attempts to eliminate the disease, and urged the communities to take care of the facilities and not vandalise them.

“We are here to recognise that in order to curb the spread of hepatitis E in the urban and informal settlements, good sanitation and hygiene for all can be achieved in Namibia,” World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses said.

According to a statement, access to improved sanitation is a basic human right, yet in Namibia 46% nationally (urban: 26% and rural: 70%) practice open defecation.

This is coupled with only 54% of the population practicing hand-washing at critical times.

Generally, when there is poor sanitation coverage, the health of populations is affected.

“The UN sister agencies are happy that the City of Windhoek and the line ministries have embraced the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach; not only to address the ongoing hepatitis E outbreak, but as a sustainable solution to address sanitation and hygiene challenges faced by Namibia,” said Sagoe-Moses.

He thanked the Japanese government for funding the hepatitis E project through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as the CLTS taskforce that worked tirelessly to mobilise their communities to build their own toilets and improve their hygiene practices, such as hand-washing with water at critical times.

The elimination of hepatitis is imperative to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and universal health coverage by 2030.

UN Namibia will continue to support national and regional policymakers to increase political and financial commitments for hepatitis the response.

Since the onset of the outbreak in September 2017, the hepatitis E virus has become the leading cause of maternal deaths.

The latest statistics show that the number of the hepatitis E infections have eclipsed the 6 000-mark, with a total of 6 151 cases reported by 11 August.

The statistics showed further that of the cases reported, 342 were maternal.

Similar News

 

Hospital ­denies Itula ­allegation

4 days ago - 14 November 2019 | Health

The regional directorate of health for Ohangwena has denied an allegation by independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula that a patient at Eenhana district hospital had...

Kavango Catholic hospitals in danger of closure

1 week ago - 11 November 2019 | Health

Management of five Catholic Health Services (CHS) hospitals in the two Kavango regions say they may have to close shop if no further monetary allocation...

Chinese restore vision in Windhoek

1 week ago - 11 November 2019 | Health

The health ministry, with the assistance of the Chinese government represented by its vice-premier Sun Chunlan, on Friday launched its telemedicine approach and at the...

Caring CAN change a life

1 week ago - 08 November 2019 | Health

Evany van Wyk In June 2015, Rolf Hansen was appointed as the third chief executive officer of the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) since...

Battle to stop hepatitis E turning endemic

3 weeks ago - 28 October 2019 | Health

JANA-MARI SMITH With more than 6 500 suspected cases of hepatitis E detected in 13 of Namibia’s 14 regions since the outbreak...

Free cancer screening at Nkurenkuru today

3 weeks ago - 25 October 2019 | Health

KENYA KAMBOWE The Ongwediva Medipark Private Hospital, in conjunction with the office of the former first lady Penexupifo Pohamba, will today conduct...

Corridor Group helps with special delivery

3 weeks ago - 24 October 2019 | Health

Nurses from the Walvis Bay Corridor Group's (WBCG) Wellness Clinic at Oshikango recently rushed to assist a woman who went into labour at the Oshikango...

ACC probes exam 'cheating'

3 weeks ago - 23 October 2019 | Health

The Health Professions Council of Namibia (HPCNA) has roped in the services of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate allegations that cheating had rocked the...

Hepatitis deaths slow down

1 month - 04 October 2019 | Health

The ongoing hepatitis E outbreak has not claimed any further lives over the past two months, with the fatality rate remaining at 55 since August....

Increasing the volume

1 month - 01 October 2019 | Health

Ester KamatiThe Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) public relations campaigns and special events class, along with Student Representative Council (SRC) and Nust clinic,...

Latest News

August 26 CEO innovates

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Business

Elizabeth Joseph ...

Fishing quotas under scrutiny

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Fishing

President Hage Geingob and acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana will meet next week to discuss the credibility of the fishing quota allocation process, as well...

Geingob was 'talked out of'...

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Government

President Hage Geingob had written dismissal letters for ministers Sacky Shanghala and Bernhard Esau on Wednesday morning, but a high-level meeting that included Vice-president Nangolo...

Helping people help themselves

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | People

Evany van WykMarjolize Scholtz has been a wellness professional for over 17 years. During her career her empathy towards people has grown immensely. Scholtz was...

Putting on a corporate...

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | People

Elizabeth Joseph Margaret Thatcher once quipped that if you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman. Langford...

Fuelled by ­creativity

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | People

Evany van Wyk “Every challenge is put on your path to groom you and build you and if I had the opportunity to change something...

A musician at heart

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | People

Queen, Mumford and Sons, as well as Koos du Plessis are all musical influences that Ruan Greeff, or John Rock Prophet as you may know...

EVMs in the firing line

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Politics

Independent president candidate Panduleni Itula, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and Swapo will square off in the electoral court on Tuesday, 19 November over...

Unshackling the toothless ACC

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Opinion

Much has been said about the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over the years. Many have called it toothless.Revelations this week that it has been sitting on...

Load More