WINDHOEK, Namibia—UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF and WHO are assisting the Namibian government in the fight against an outbreak of Hepatitis E on the outskirts of the national capital, Windhoek.
More than 800 people are suspected of having contracted Hepatitis, while five people have died from the disease. The outbreak was first reported in October 2017. Of the five who have died, three were women in the post-partum period.
Ongwediva-Recent heavy rains and floods wreaked havoc in some parts of the northern regions, flooding schools as well as residential areas towards the end of last week.
Those at the receiving end include school-going children in Omusati and Kunene regions as well as homeowners at Oshikuku Town Council, both within the formal and informal settlements.
There are fears that hepatitis E in Havana and Goreangab informal settlements could become endemic, according to epidemiologist, Dr Lilliane Kahuika, of the Ministry of Health and Social Services. The number of cases recorded since the outbreak in October last year are 113, she said. Last week, 44 cases of hepatitis E were recorded and ten deaths since the outbreak.
Poor rainfall performance this agricultural season has affected the recovery of grazing pasture in the country from the dry spell last year.
Following heavy rainfall in Angola a second flood wave could swamp northern Namibia in the next four days, confirmed a hydrologist responsible for the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin in Namibia.
Leonard Hango said Ondjiva is currently under water and it is expected the flood that hit Ondjiva will spill over into Namibia.
“Efundja is on its way, it has been recorded in Angola, but it is yet to overflow into Namibia,” said the Cuvelai-Etosha basin hydrologist.
Ondjiva is located about 45 km from Oshikango.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2018 forecast to fall slightly, due to dry weather conditions, but still exceed average
Maize meal prices down on yearly basis, mostly reflecting reduced prices in South Africa, country’s main source of grains
Food security conditions stable in most parts of country due to good output in 2017 but expected production decline in 2018 anticipated to aggravate situation in dry weather-affected areas
Soon after communities in the northern part of the country were warned by the Namibia Hydrological Services to prepare for the seasonal floods from Angola, the floods, locally known as efundja, have arrived. This followed the heavy rainfall in southern Angola.
Although efundja results in devastating flooding that causes damage to road infrastructure, property, the displacement of people from their homes and at times loss of income to businesses, it has also been a blessing in disguise for communities.
A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
Flood-prone settlements of Kabbe in Zambezi Region are at high risk of contracting waterborne diseases as the affected villagers in those settlements have no proper ablution facilities, and potable drinking water is a pipe dream.
Due to heavy flooding experienced in the Zambezi, many schools and villagers in Kabbe have been cut off, exposing people to harsh conditions, as they have to cross streams using dugout canoes, risking their lives to attacks from crocodiles lurking in the water.
Alvine Kapitako Windhoek
The Ministry of Health and Social Services has urged pregnant women who display symptoms of hepatitis E to seek medical attention as soon as possible to decrease their chances of dying.
Since the outbreak of the disease last October, ten cases of hepatitis E-related deaths were recorded, the latest being that of a 25-year-old woman who died six days after she gave birth.
Ongwediva - The Omusati Regional Council in collaboration with the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project will host a two-day conference on water, food security and adaptation to climate change.
The conference takes place tomorrow and Thursday to bring stakeholders together to deliberate on challenges faced by the region as a result of climate change. It also further seeks dialogue on solutions that can address these challenges.
Windhoek-Japan has given a grant of US$800 000 (approximately N$9.5 million) to the government of Namibia to help address the health needs of the most vulnerable citizens in the seven northern regions affected by recurrent drought and floods.
Windhoek-Due to heavy flooding experienced in the Zambezi, many schools in the Kabbe flood-prone areas have been cut off – leaving learners and teachers exposed to harsh conditions, as they have to cross streams using dugout canoes risking their lives from crocodiles lurking under the water.
Such an undertaking can be very risky due to dangerous animals such as crocodiles and snakes that come with these floods.
WFP is providing leadership to craft strategies on how the UNCT will support the Government in achieving its development priorities.
WFP supported the Government through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to produce the Food and Nutrition Security Monitoring report which analyses the vulnerability and livelihoods in rural areas.
WFP is providing support to government through a secretariat established to organize a national conference and a workshop on disability.
Windhoek - Agra Provison and the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development have started highly informative courses this week to assist farmers in the basic principles of farm management and the basics of profitable cattle production, which can make a difference between failure and success.
Namibian livestock farmers are expected to attend in their droves, most of them having suffered tremendous losses in animal numbers and financially due to consecutive droughts since 2013.
Following the twin outbreak of cholera and hepatitis E in Windhoek, the Ongwediva Town Council plans to embark on an awareness campaign on Valentine’s Day, which is today.
The first hepatitis E case hit the country in October, while cholera surfaced at the end of January.
Public relations officer at the Ministry of Health and Social Services Manga Libita said only one case of cholera was detected in a 10-year-old boy, but further cases have not surfaced.
She said the boy is doing fine and has since returned to school.
By Rosemary Nalisa, Namibia Red Cross Society
The capital city of Windhoek is on high alert after an outbreak of Hepatitis E that has claimed three lives, while 554 people are undergoing treatment. Namibia has been battling Hepatitis E since mid-December 2017, after the first cases were detected in an informal settlement of Windhoek. The number has since been rising steadily.
Hepatitis E is a liver disease spread through drinking water that has been contaminated by human faeces. The disease can be fatal, especially for pregnant women.
Ongwediva-The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has warned that the country is likely to experience a second armyworm outbreak in a row, following last year’s one.
“According to the data that was collected from pheromone traps on the number of Fall Armyworm (FAW) moths, the data shows that FAW is still around and as soon as the host plants are available the moths will start producing egg masses on the plant leaves,” said the PS of agriculture, water and forestry, Percy Misika.
The Minister of Health and Social Services at a recent press briefing reiterated his ministry’s commitment to contain the Hepatitis E outbreak.