Namibia: Cholera Outbreak Katutura and Opuwo, 18 February 2014

A cholera outbreak has been reported in Katutura on the edge of Windhoek, including 14 official cholera cases and 1 death reported.

Poor WASH conditions and open defecation in Katutura are of concern, as this could lead to a rapidly advancing spread of the outbreak. Katutura had a population 43,109 in the 2011 census, although unofficial records suggest around 200,000 inhabitants, due to immigration, which has been exacerbated by drought conditions.

All patients are being treated at Katutura Hospital or Windhoek Central Hospital. Both facilities claim to be at capacity with non-cholera patient caseloads.
Since November 2013, the northern regions were affected by a cholera outbreak, particularly Opuwo in Kunene as well as sporadic suspected cases in Omusati, Oshana and Ohangwena. A total of 504 suspected cholera cases were recorded with 16 deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 3.2% up to 10 Feb 2014. However, the Katutura strain is Inaba cholera, whilst the strain found in Opuwo is Ogawa, indicating that there is no link.

UNICEF, WHO AND OCHA attended an urgent meeting led by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) on 13 Feb. An IEC campaign will begin in Windhoek as soon as possible including the use of radio. Testing of water in Windhoek is being conducted by Khomas Regional Council.

Urgent needs include Oral Rehydration Solution, tents and beds for Cholera Treatment Centres in the event of a large outrbreak, as well as hygiene and public health campaigns through targeted use of IEC materials and personnel, to prevent the spread of the outbreak. The MoHSS and Khomas Regional Council are leading the response, supported by UN agencies.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.