September 4, 2008 (JUBA) – The southern Sudan ministry of health launched two days ago the use of chlorine tablets to purify water in Juba town. The initiative aims to reduce occurrence of water borne diseases which blamed for the high child mortality rate in Southern Sudan.
- A Southern Sudanese drinks water from the Aquem river, near Malual Kon, north of Bahr er Gazal, southern Sudan, Feb 12, 2006. (AP)
The production of this water purification product branded as “Waterguard” is supported by the World Bank administered Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Southern Sudan (MDTF-S) through the Ministry of Health in the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).
Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms which are directly transmitted when contaminated drinking water is consumed. Contaminated drinking water, used in the preparation of food, can be the source of foodborne disease through consumption of the same microorganisms.
Addressing the “Waterguard” launch, the Director-General of Preventive Health at the GoSS Ministry of Health, John Rumunu said that lack of healthy water and excreta disposal are two main causes for the spread of cholera in southern Sudan. He added that more than 9000 cases of acute watery diarrhea had been reported this year.
According to a household survey of 2006, Southern Sudan has only 40% of improved water sources and mostly in urban areas. The same survey revealed that Southern Sudan has only 6% means of excreta disposal.
Around six million Waterguard tablets have been distributed since April 2007 to more than 15,000 beneficiaries, according to Ms Marcie Cook, the Sudan Country Representative the Population Services International (PSI) which is involved in the implementation of the project besides the health ministry.
Due to the difficulty in changing the behavior of some communities, the PSI strategy aims at using school children and women to pass the hygiene messages to the public using drama and songs.
The multi-donor fund for southern Sudan has allocated 10 million dollars to support GoSS disease control program consisting of hygiene, water and sanitation education and the control of malaria.