Hepatitis E death toll rises to 19

By: Steven Ariong

Napak: The death toll from Hepatitis E in Napak District in Karamoja has risen from 15 to 19, while 706 people remain infected with the deadly viral disease.

Napak District health director James Lemukol said there was no improvement since the disease hit the district in October last year.

He said a joint team of officials from the ministry of health, district and NGOs was still on the ground trying to fight the epidemic.

“The situation is still scaring. We are registering high number of cases from the sub-counties where we used to register low cases of the epidemic when it was just coming up,” he said.

He said among those who have since died are 12 expectant mothers.

Dr Lemukol blamed the persistent epidemic on few clean water sources and low latrine coverage in the district.

“The low coverage of pit-latrines in the district, which stands at 22 per cent and few clean water sources are the major challenges hindering the fight against hepatitis E in Napak,” he said.

Dr Lemukol warned against using local herbs instead of going to the health centres for treatment. Meanwhile, several eating places in unhygienic places in Napak have been closed.

Tough job

In an interview with this newspaper last month, Dr Lemukol said: “The fight against the current Hepatitis E epidemic in Napak District is still challenging with no signs of improvement.”

The Health Ministry spokesperson, Ms Rukia Nakamatte, last month told the this newspaper the disease is not likely to be prevented soon unless alternative water sources are provided to the population which she said is being negotiated with the Ministry of Water.

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