Swimming in faeces

09 November 2018 | Health

The Gemengde community in Katutura is living amid the stench of raw faeces and claim the City of Windhoek has failed to deal with the issue for nearly two months.

City spokesperson Lydia Amutenya also failed to respond to questions sent by Namibian Sun on Tuesday, despite promising to “revert back”.

One of the residents, Jessica Mothlapi, said the situation is getting worse every day, as overflowing sewerage drains wreak havoc in the community.





“It is so bad that we cannot even cook because of the smell. The children are playing in that septic and dirty water every day and it is dangerous, especially now with the hepatitis E outbreak,” she said.

Another resident Immanuel Swartbooi said they have given up on the City because officials simply came, looked around, took pictures, left and never returned.

“It has been like this for about two months now. We must just get used to it, I think,” he said.

Namibia is grappling with a hepatitis E outbreak and is failing to contain the spread of the disease, which has already caused a number of deaths.

Hepatitis E is a liver infection spread either by direct contact with an infected person's faeces or by the indirect faecal contamination of food or water.

Infection is more severe among pregnant women, as they are at greater risk of acute liver failure, foetal loss and death.

The outbreak is fuelled mainly by a lack of clean water, poor sanitation and poor personal hygiene.

The first case was reported in Windhoek in October 2017, but the disease has since spread to other towns including Swakopmund and Oshakati.

The disease continues to spread unabated, with a total number of 3 859 cases and 31 deaths reported last month.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report said in January that Namibia has limited capacity when it comes to hepatitis E laboratory diagnosis.

It highlighted that the majority of hepatitis E cases have been reported in informal settlements within Windhoek, where living conditions are poor.

“The WHO recommends the improvement of access to safe water and proper sanitation through different methods, including home water purification techniques.

“The water quality should be regularly monitored in the affected areas. The number of latrines in different settlements should be increased to address the issue of open defecation. In addition, the waste management and overall hygiene practices should be improved,” the WHO report said.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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