By Michael Liswaniso
A record 2 168 suspected cholera cases have been reported in the Kunene Region since the beginning of the year with the first case reported at Okangwati in Epupa constituency, some 120 kilometres north of Opuwo.
This came to light at a two-day cross-border workshop between Namibia and Angola that took place early this week. The workshop was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The meeting was told by the host region that about 51 patients have been admitted with only five cases confirmed through laboratory tests.
About 13 residents died from suspected cholera while an additional two are suspected to have succumbed to the disease without reporting the symptoms to a nearby health centre.
“There were people dying and we were only informed that he/she died of diarrhoea,” said Jogbeth Karutjaiva, the primary health care supervisor for Opuwo district during her joint presentation on national immunization days and disease surveillance with fellow staffer Puyo Mbaumba, the regional health primary administrator for family health.
According to them, most of the suspected cholera cases came from Epupa.
They said apart from constraints such as vastness of the region, poor infrastructure especially in the affected areas and limited resources, counter-attack prevention measures have been put in place, among them, setting up emergency committees in the region as well as carrying out health education outreach programmes.
The meeting heard that a total of N$651 317 will be needed for the annual national immunization days campaign. The first phase of the campaign is slated for June 24 to 26.
Meanwhile, three suspected bilharzia cases were also reported in the region.
The workshop that brought together regions such as Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Cunene and Namibe provinces in Angola has become an annual gathering between the two countries and seeks to share experiences, knowledge and skills on how best to prevent and control cross-border diseases.
Kunene Regional Governor, Dudu Murorua, welcomed the delegates comprising of regional health directors and programme administrators from the regions bordering Kunene.
Dr Naftalie Hamata of Oshana chaired part of the workshop.