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WHO helps prevent cholera outbreak in S. Sudan’s Renk county

November 16, 2019 (JUBA) – The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Health ministry, the UN Children Fund (UNICEF) and MedAir are immunizing 144, 033 people against cholera in Renk, a county bordering Blue Nile state in Sudan to mitigate the risks of cholera outbreak.

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

In September, a cholera outbreak was declared in Sudan with at least 278 cases, including 8 deaths, reported by October 12.

The affected states, WHO said, included Blue Nile and Sennar bordering Ethiopia and South Sudan respectively.

Given the proximity and since returnees from Sudan are streaming into Renk town, the risk of cholera importation to Renk is high, according to the world health body.
“The oral cholera vaccination provides protection to the vulnerable populations during the period when access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene are inadequate in cholera hotspots”, said Dr. Olushayo Olu, WHO’s representative to South Sudan.

With support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a total of 280,033 doses of vaccines have reportedly been secured to prevent the risk of cholera outbreak in the high-risk areas.

For the vaccine to be most effective, WHO noted, people need two doses administered two to four weeks apart.

“The first round of the cholera vaccination campaign will be conducted from 18 to 23 November 2019 while the follow up second round is tentatively slated for 9 to 13 December 2019,” partly reads issued by the world health body.

Meanwhile, South Sudan has adapted an integrated multi-sectoral targeted approach that includes patient care, case surveillance, community engagement and risk communication, and the complementary use of safe and effective oral cholera vaccines as vital for preventing recurrent cholera outbreaks in endemic areas.

Cholera is described as an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.