21 July 2017

South Sudan: WHO Set to Launch Cholera Vaccination Campaign

Photo: Julius Ocungi/Daily Monitor
Women from South Sudan sanitise hands

Juba — The World Health Organization (WHO) will launch a vaccination campaign on July 28 to respond to 17,785 cases of Cholera including 320 deaths reported since the outbreak in the country on June 2016.

The organization has received 500,000 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) and is working with South Sudan's Ministry of Health and partners to carry out a vaccination campaign from July 28 to August 3 in four selected counties with high active transmissions that are Tonj East, Kapoeta South, Kapoeta North and Kapoeta East.

Places targeted include those facing famine, food insecurity and disease outbreaks.

The use of the OCV is one of the strategies available to prevent and combat outbreaks. Two thousand five hundred new cases have been registered since April a sharp increase compared to previous months.

According to Joseph Wamala, an epidemiologist at the World Health Organization, WHO aims to control the outbreak especially in Tonj and Kapoeta States.

"South Sudan has suffered from several major cholera outbreaks in the last four years. Following other successful oral cholera vaccine campaigns, WHO and partners can make a real difference in controlling the outbreak in Tonj and Kapoeta states and in other parts of the country," UN News Centre quoted Mr Wamala as saying July 19.

"Cholera is endemic in South Sudan and historically, outbreaks have occurred along major commercial routes and rivers in the dry season as well as during the rainy season," added Wamala.

South Sudan is also implementing the integrated approach to control cholera, such as improving access to patient care, surveillance, social mobilization, water, sanitation and hygiene.

This comes just two weeks after Aid workers in South Sudan warned of, "Devastating" outbreak of Cholera that could kill thousands of people in the country where some 6 million people in South Sudan are facing starvation due to political conflicts and drought.

Drought has also led to the drying of water points in some regions leading to the population using contaminated water from the remaining few unprotected points leading to repeated outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne diseases.

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