Namibia continues to battle with Hepatitis E cases as focus shifts to COVID-19 pandemic

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Namibia
Namibia

Namibia has recorded 7,853 Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) cases from September 2017 to July 2020, with the majority of cases still from informal settlements in Windhoek and Swakopmund, according to the Health Ministry statistics availed to Xinhua on Thursday.

The Health Ministry said 65 deaths have been recorded so far of which 26 are maternal deaths.

“Generally there is a downward trend in the number of HEV cases, but there is still a need to improve the water and sanitation across the country,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, to contain the outbreak, there is a necessity to embark upon a pro-active, consistent, and sustained implementation of HEV response activities.

“Even though efforts are diverted mainly to COVID-19 pandemic response, there is a beneficial spillover from the sanitation and hygiene practices of COVID-19 interventions to the hepatitis outbreak control,” the ministry added.

Furthermore, the ministry said due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, HEV response seems to have been scaled-down as the Health Ministry and partner organizations have repurposed their staff to focus entirely on the containment of COVID-19 and the National Health Emergency Management Committee meeting does not discuss HEV outbreak anymore.

Namibia declared an HEV outbreak on Dec. 14, 2017, in the Khomas region’s Windhoek and the outbreak continued in the region and spread to other regions around April 2018, eventually involving a total of 10 regions.

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