31 July 2014

South Sudan: Red Cross Implements Measures to Prevent the Spread of Cholera in Torit

press release

The Government of South Sudan declared a cholera outbreak in Juba in mid-May 2014. Despite the decline in cholera cases in Juba where the first cases of cholera were reported, the disease continues to spread to other states including Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria, Jonglei and Upper Nile.

Most new cases are being reported in Torit, Eastern Equatoria, 150 kilometres east of Juba and close to South Sudan's border with Uganda. As of 21 July, at least 4,765 confirmed cases with 109 deaths were reported in all affected states.

Marchelina Mercy sons, Alex and Joseph, died from cholera both within a week. She got infected while looking after them. Volunteers from the South Sudan Red Cross were trying to evacuate her to the nearby oral rehydration point , before referring her to a cholera treatment centre.

"My children died because of this disease and there no reason for me to live. I don't want to go to the hospital; let me die like my children," said Mercy.

The South Sudan Red Cross has trained 45 volunteers in Torit to disseminate messages to prevent the spread of cholera, as well as distribute oral rehydration salts.. Families are also receiving purification tablets and solutions so they can treat their drinking water, and soap to encourage hand washing.

The South Sudan Red Cross is also showing videos in public places to educate people on how to they can protect themselves from cholera and what to do if a family member falls sick.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies with support from Movement partners has deployed technical teams to assist the South Sudan Red Cross in its response to the cholera outbreak in Torit. Patients are receiving oral rehydration treatment at four locations. Severe cases are referred to cholera treatment centers.

IFRC has also deployed a water and sanitation emergency response unit to provide 40,000 people with safe water and a community health emergency response unit to strengthen the provision of community based cholera case management response. Twenty-one delegates from IFRC and partnering National Societies are in country to support the operations.

"I am appealing to the partners to support us particularly during the ongoing operation to curb the cholera outbreak in the state" Said Philip Marchelo, the South Sudan Red Cross branch director in Eastern Equatoria.

The South Sudan Red Cross is the member of the national and state task forces on cholera.

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