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S. Sudan: Partners scale-up cholera prevention campaigns

May 24, 2018 (JUBA) - Health partners, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in South Sudan, have initiated Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) campaigns to mitigate the risk of cholera outbreaks during the current rainy season across the country.

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A child receives an oral cholera vaccine dose in the South Sudan capital, Juba (Medair Photo)

The campaigns, officials says, are targeting over 854,000 people in South Sudan’s cholera endemic ‘hot spots’ in the first half of 2018 and will incorporate water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions that are critical to achieve the global target of attaining a 90% reduction of cholera deaths by 2030.

“These OCV campaigns are critical for preventing recurrent cholera outbreaks in endemic areas,” said Wamala Joseph, Epidemiologist at World Health Organization (WHO) South Sudan.

“They provide protection in the immediate term and serve as a bridge to rolling out long-term and sustainable WASH interventions in cholera hot spots,” he added.

According to the WHO, since January 2018, a total of 60,614 people were vaccinated in the first round of OCV campaigns in Malakal Protection of Civilians (PoC) site and Wau Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) sites, another 173,480 people vaccinated in the second round of OCV campaigns in Aburoc and Wau IDP sites, Budi county, Malaka town and Malakal PoC site.

Variations in coverage, WHO says, are due to unpredictable population movements, either due to conflict-related displacements or seasonal movement in search of water, pasture and food.

South Sudan has, since 2013, faced several outbreaks of cholera affecting vulnerable populations in IDP camps, urban informal settlements, and cattle camps as well as rural population, island dwellers and communities along River Nile.

According to WHO, more than 20,000 cases of cholera, including 436 deaths were reported during the longest and largest cholera outbreak that lasted from 18 June 2016 to 7 February 2018.

(ST)