This article was last updated on May 26, 2022
UNICEF and MTN partners braved on Monday, in the day-long downpour, kicked off a health education campaign to clear sanitation hurdles at a time when cholera is devastating the nation, a joint press statement partly reads.
“Cholera is transmitted mostly by poor sanitation and hygiene,” Ms Bina Jackson Lujanga, acting Director for Nutrition, ministry of Health, Central Equatoria, told the students at Comboni Secondary School, during the launch of a weeklong series of stops and events such as health education and provision of detergents for various schools.
The Health awareness campaign is a sub-theme of the 21 Days of Y’ello Care, a Corporate Social Responsibility staff volunteerism initiative of the MTN Group. It runs from every June 1 to 21, during which MTN staff volunteer in the communities of now 22 countries including South Sudan.
This year’s theme, “Investing in Education For All’, the same as the one of the previous two years, is meant to give the company the opportunity to expand and consolidate the efforts to positively impact the educational sector.
“Because of the current condition in South Sudan, we thought it would be a good idea to combine education and health,” Mr. Philip Besiimire, Chief Executive Officer, MTN South Sudan, told the students.
“The cholera epidemic in the country, if not contained, could affect us all and you would not be able to come to school. So, we partnered with UNICEF and others to come and talk to you about health awareness, things that you need to know about so that we can contain the spread of cholera in our communities.”
Doctors without Borders (MSF) which has set up three treatment centers and three oral rehydration points, warns the public against laxity.
“The peak after each trough is a little higher than the previous peak,” Brian P. Moeller,” the MSF Head of Mission said in a statement. “When the outbreak enters a trough phase, people start to relax. So, there is no room for complacency, as patient numbers could escalate again.”
Dr. Thelma Majela, UNICEF’s Life Skills and Peace Building Education Specialist also cautioned the students on the dangers of HIV/AIDS. “We don’t want you to get HIV/AIDS. We want you to be an agent for social change,” Dr. Majela said. Health Cluster report now shows that over 1,300 cases of cholera and 21 related deaths have been registered and the outbreak is spreading to Yei and Kajo-Keji in Central Equatoria State.