A vaccination campaign got under way last month in South Sudan to stop a deadly outbreak of cholera.
The health ministry, with support from WHO and other partners, has been ramping up disease surveillance, treatment and prevention efforts since July, when the cholera outbreak was confirmed.
The campaign aims to reach more than 14 000 people with the oral cholera vaccine in the high risk areas of Juba county in the conflict-torn country, as it faces one of the world’s most severe humanitarian emergencies.
A national cholera taskforce is coordinating efforts to stop the spread of the disease.
It includes the health ministry, WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and other health and water, sanitation and hygiene organizations that are part of the United Nations humanitarian cluster system.
Cholera treatment centres have been set up at Juba Teaching Hospital and United Nations House civilian protection site by MSF, the health ministry and WHO; and 13 oral rehydration points have been established in Juba by Health Link South Sudan with support from partners including WHO to improve access to timely rehydration.
WHO has distributed cholera preparedness and response guidelines to improve case detection and treatment of cholera.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that causes massive loss of body fluids and can be deadly within hours if not adequately treated.
“WHO is taking all the necessary control measures to support the Ministry of Health to respond to the situation urgently, and put an end to this outbreak,” said Dr Abdulmumini Usman, WHO Representative to South Sudan.
“This work is vital because the conditions are favourable for transmitting the disease. These include increased population displacement, overcrowding, unsafe water, poor hygiene and sanitation,” he said.
WHO and partners are also supporting social mobilization and community engagement activities. The media is currently airing cholera prevention messages and a toll-free phone line to report cholera cases has been activated.