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Juba labs to conduct first cholera sample tests

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June 7, 2014 (JUBA) – The process of testing cholera samples, previously done in Kenya and Uganda, will soon be conducted from within South Sudan, an official has disclosed.

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A woman is given a cholera vaccine at a medical camp run by the humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres in Minkamman, in South Sudan’s Lakes state (Photo: Getty Images)

“This will reduce the turnaround time since tests will be run locally here. Amref Health Africa will now act as quality control agency”, said Jackson Songok, a project officer at Amref Health Africa.

The move, he added, would ensure cholera cases are better managed since doctors will get timely results and immediately determine which drugs administer to patients.

Amref Health Africa, with support from World Health Organization (WHO) and the health ministry is reportedly boosting capacities of national laboratories to enable them conduct cholera tests in Juba.

Recently, however, the foundation brought into South Sudan an expert now tasked with tutoring laboratory technicians on the microbiology and parasitological nature of deadly diseases.

Aneno Irene Oriech, one of trainees, appealed to government to continue working with Amref Health Africa and ensure more trainings are conducted to strengthen Juba laboratories.

Abiem Bona, another trainee, said he was getting hand on experience on laboratory matters, having previously undertaken theoretical trainings in Khartoum.

“I am trained in microbiology from Khartoum, but I have not been practicing because there is no microbiology laboratory”, he said.

While addressing Tuesday’s health cluster meeting in Juba, health minister, Riek Gai Kok said the country, through the national laboratory, was due to locally start confirming disease out breaks.

Recently, a cholera outbreak in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, left 23 people dead and forced more than 670 others to seek treatment, according to the country’s health ministry.

(ST)

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