WINDHOEK - Despite the increasing outbreaks of cholera in the Southern African region which is killing hundreds of people, Namibia did not record a single case of the disease since 2018.
An estimated 50,750 cholera cases and 266 deaths were reported across the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region in 2018.
In the first half of 2019, about 28,260 cases and 886 deaths have been reported. Cholera cases vary widely among Sadc member states, with countries like South Africa, Lesotho, eSwatini, Madagascar, Botswana and Namibia recording no cases since 2018.
This is according to the latest 2019 Synthesis Report on the State of Food and Nutrition Security and Vulnerability in Southern Africa compiled by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Secretariat’s regional vulnerability assessment and analysis programme, under the leadership of the food, agriculture and natural resources directorate and the disaster risk reduction unit.
The report shows that Cyclone Idai led to an upsurge of cases in Mozambique, with over 7,000 cases and eight deaths reported in 2019 to date.
Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.
Cholera also contributes to malnutrition in the region, and malnourished people are more at risk of cholera, the report shows.
The report also highlights the Ebola outbreak in the Sadc region.
It indicates that while Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is geographically confined to North Kivu and Ituri provinces of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the risk of it spreading to neighbouring countries remains high, making this an issue of public health concern which has potential impact on both food and nutrition security. Further, it shows HIV/AIDS Sadc remains at the epicentre of the HIV epidemic.
“Though rates of new infections are declining, at the current rate of decline the region will still have at least 570,000 new infections annually, more than double the target,” the report reveals.
Equally, it states gender inequality is still a strong driver of the pandemic with 59 percent of new infections in Southern Africa being women, but 53 percent of AIDS related deaths are men.
Young women 15 to 24 years old are only 10 percent of the total population but account for 26 percent of new HIV infections.
Food insecurity has been found to be a critical barrier to adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and retention in care among HIV- and TB-infected adults, HIV-infected pregnant women and their HIV-exposed infants.
According to the report, there is growing evidence that links food and nutrition security with an increase in health-seeking behaviour; adherence to HIV and TB treatment; reduction in morbidity; prevention of transmission among adolescent girls; and reduction in mortality among people living with HIV/Aids.
2019-09-12 07:39:42 12 days ago