Is it the sins of the fathers?

15 April 2019 | Opinion

Hepatitis E continues to rage forth in Namibia, one of three countries in the world doing battle with this disease. According to a World Health Organisation bulletin, issued for 1 to 7 April the two other countries are South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Namibia's current outbreak has endured the longest and, according to the data made available to WHO, has killed significantly more people.

The health minister Kalumbi Shangula said the outbreak “is a serious public health threat and it must be treated as such. There are only three countries in the world where the disease is found.”

The sins of the fathers catching up with us?

Certainly, after almost 30 years of freedom, Namibia's government blindly looked at the high rates of urbanisation, the sky-rocketing of unemployment – in particular in the rural areas – and the increase in informal settlements. And it did very little.

You see, we are not a government that plans ahead. We react and put plasters on wounds that have been festering for years, and are now in desperate need of medical intervention.

It was inevitable that a disease like hepatitis E would appear in the country. Any person driving through one of the many informal settlements in the country would agree.

There is, in most cases, no decent water supply, as we reported on recently in places like Katwitwi, Amarika and many more, including settlements in Tsumeb and Grootfontein.

And this is just hepatitis E. In Windhoek, one wonders what the long-term impact will be on our precious underground water resources as raw sewage runs off. Goreangab Dam is a case in point.

We are playing Russian roulette with our futures and we seem either to be entirely ignorant of this fact, or, we seem simply not to care.

And now, there is no money. There is no money because we are reliant, as we have said on countless occasions, on decisions made by corporates and governments far away and utterly removed from our realities.

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