March 18,2014 (JUBA) - Over 50,000 internally displaced people, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said, were vaccinated against cholera during a week-long campaign it carried out in collaboration with South Sudan’s health ministry, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
The exercise, the agency said in a statement, targeted the displaced people and host communities in Lake state’s Awerial county and its surrounding areas.
"MSF has vaccinated 52,000 people in one week, during the just completed first round of cholera vaccination. During the second round of vaccination to start in April, amongst this group, 40 000 people aged between 1 and 30 years old will also receive vaccination against meningitis," the statement partly reads.
Additionally, it added, another 10,000 people living on the islands by the River Nile will receive cholera, meningitis and measles vaccinations.
"The oral anti-cholera vaccine offers protection against the disease for two years and is recommended by the World Health Organisation", MSF stressed.
The agency, however, said with the start of the rainy season in South Sudan and the growing number of displaced people, preventative cholera vaccination will further prevent a full outbreak.
Vaccinating against cholera cannot be used alone, and it remains essential to improve hygiene and sanitation conditions, it emphasised.
Due to sporadic fighting in Jonglei state, displaced people continue to arrive on a daily basis to take refuge by the banks of the River Nile. With the little belongings they fled with, the displaced often struggle to find space in the overcrowded camp.
About 57,000 people, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), have settled in Minkamman, Awerial county where MSF is reportedly providing basic and specialised healthcare, treating acute illnesses such as watery diarrhea, malaria and chest infections, as well as providing basic obstetric services and nutrition support.