At least 701 diarrhoea cases have been reported at the north-western village of Kamanjab in the Kunene Region since February last year, with Kamanjab Constituency Councillor Engenesia Tjaritje-Ensigue suspecting this could be due to contaminated water.
This year alone 56 cases of diarrhoea (without blood) were reported among children under five years of age, while 17 cases were reported among those aged between five and 17 years. In total, 26 cases were reported among adults.
For diarrhoea with blood, one case was reported for children under the age of five, while among children aged five to 17 a single case was reported. Also in this regard, three cases were reported among adults, according to figures provided to New Era by Tjaritje-Ensigue. The information was provided to her office by health authorities in the area.
The statistics show that from March 14, 2016 to February 15 this year 428 other gastro-intestinal diseases/disorders were reported, 306 cases of skin disease and 30 cases of diarrhoea with blood, while between March 15, 2015 and February 16, 2016 other gastro-intestinal diseases/disorders were reported to be at 382 and skin disease at 393.
“It’s a huge concern, so Namwater must do proper tests on water as it might be contaminated,” the councillor said.
“Outjo district hospital officials visited Kamanjab recently to acquaint themselves with the issue of rising diarrhoea cases,” Tjaritje-Ensigue told New Era last week. She said the rising diarrhoea cases are something that should not be taken lightly as people’s lives are at risk.
She said that some pipes in front of the Kamanjab police station are broken from time to time and water might leak into underground sources, and that some boreholes might be contaminated by sewage water at the village.
Aina Embashu, acting village secretary at Kamanjab, told New Era that the village buys water in bulk from Namwater, which the water utility company sources from farm Kalkrand outside the village.
Namwater has taken water samples for testing and results have not been provided yet, the council says. “It’s not our fault if by any chance this water is contaminated,” said Embashu.
She said the high cases of diarrhoea might be due to children playing in unhygienic conditions and people eating rotten food. She called on relevant authorities to roll out health education at the village.
Namwater took water samples two weeks ago for testing and the village council’s technical clerk, Buruxa Namaseb, says the council’s next course of action would be determined upon receiving answers from the water utility.