Cholera Kills One As Suspected Cases Rise

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By Petronella Sibeene

WINDHOEK

Another person has died of cholera in the Ohangwena Region, bringing the death toll to three since a cholera outbreak was announced almost three weeks ago.

The number of suspected cholera cases continues to rise with the figure standing at 455 by yesterday.

Oshana Regional Health Director, Dr Naftali Hamata,yesterday confirmed that the number of suspected cholera cases has shot up.

He said Engela State Hospital by yesterday morning had 270 suspected cases while Odibo Health Centre had 120 cases and Okatope recorded
65 cases.

All age groups are affected.

Dr Hamata said in most cases where there is cholera endemic, the most affected are children especially those below the age of five. But in the case of Namibia, all are affected, as, according to Dr Hamata, Namibians have weak immunity.

The sudden rise in suspected cholera cases is partly blamed on lack of water purification chemicals.

Dr Hamata said although all health facilities in the region have water purification sachets, not every individual has access to them due to inaccessibility brought about by floods.

He told New Era that plans are underway to engage the Ministry of
Education in the distribution of the crucial water purification chemicals.
He explained that health officials would have to distribute the purification tablets at schools so that learners can take them home.

The health official urged people in Ohangwena to “try to get water purification tablets and use them properly”.

Symptoms of cholera include passing a lot of loose watery stools which look like rice water, stools with a fishy smell and dehydration and weakness may occur very rapidly.

Dr Hamata appealed to people in cholera zone to always apply the following health measures:
– Immediately report any cases of people showing any of these symptoms
– Drink boiled water
– Wash hands before preparing food and after using the toilet
– Avoid washing hands from the same bowl at gatherings such as weddings and funerals
– Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating
– Avoid using the bush to relieve oneself
– Ensure that human waste is buried or properly disposed

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