The United Nation Children Fund in a statement release said 18 people, including 2 children less than 5 years of age, have died from cholera in the most recent outbreak to hit South Sudan.
JUBA 23 June 2015 [Gurtong]- The first cholera case was reported on 27 May in the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba. Since then, 170 suspected cases have been reported inside the site and in villages across Central Equatoria State.
Children under five years of age account for 15 per cent of all suspected cholera cases. Cholera is particularly dangerous for young children as it causes rapid and severe dehydration due to excessive diarrhoea and vomiting.
UNICEF and partners are supporting the establishment of Oral Rehydration points and have trained health care providers. They have also delivered cholera treatment supplies, including medicines, soap, protective equipment and tents to hospitals throughout the country. In addition, UNICEF is the lead agency in the provision of safe drinking water in cholera-risk areas.
An estimated 30,000 internally displaced persons in the Juba PoC site will receive the Oral Cholera Vaccination. Hygiene promotion, including hand washing and the safe handling of food is ongoing.
South Sudan recorded no cholera cases between 2009 and the end of 2013. However, the conflict which started in December 2013 pushed hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, forcing them to seek shelter in overcrowded camps and settlements, often without access to clean water and in poor hygiene conditions. A cholera outbreak in May 2014 killed 167 people before it was brought under control by the Ministry’s national cholera taskforce including UNICEF, WHO and partners.
Along with urgent health interventions, the number of fatalities can be reduced through early detection and greater prevention awareness among communities. UNICEF is broadcasting radio spots on how to prevent, detect and treat cholera on 13 radio stations, while social mobilizers are going door-to-door to provide lifesaving information to vulnerable communities.
UNICEF in South Sudan urgently needs US$ 4.6 million to fund an emergency cholera response for six months.