A cholera outbreak in South Sudan has claimed 462 lives and affected 21,571 others since the onset of the outbreak on June 18, 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.
The WHO Epidemiologist, Joseph Wamala, said this in a statement issued in Juba.
“This has been the longest and largest outbreak in magnitude and geographical extent, its impact exacerbated by the protracted crisis, insecurity, displacements and declining access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
“As part of the ongoing cholera response, the South Sudan Ministry of Health in collaboration with the WHO and other partners have deployed cholera vaccines to complement traditional response strategies,’’ it said.
It said that the use of Oral Cholera vaccine would bridge the transition from cholera treatment and emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions to multi-sectoral interventions.
This includes long-term WASH interventions to prevent recurrence of outbreaks in cholera hotspots.
“From the 2.18 million doses secured by WHO in 2017, a total of 1.13 million doses have already been deployed with 879, 239 doses used during the first round.
“Also, 254,340 doses were utilised in second round campaigns in 16 cholera-affected and high-risk populations countrywide,’’ the UN agency said.
The agency, in collaboration with the ministry of health and partners, recently resolved to develop a revised cholera response strategy that is aligned with the Global Cholera Roadmap 2030.
“The strategy is aimed at reducing cholera deaths by 90 per cent before 2030 in South Sudan,’’ WHO said.
“To attain this target, the overall leadership and coordination of cholera prevention and response activities will be enhanced through the formation of a multi-sectoral cholera control programme.
“When used alongside other interventions for improving access to safe water and sanitation, oral cholera vaccines are very effective for cholera prevention and control.
“This will also give protection to those at risk, especially when the recommended two doses are administered,” the statement quoted Pinyi Nyimol, Director-General for Preventive Services at the ministry, as saying.
The campaigns in Kapoeta South, Kapoeta East and Tonj East are already underway from Dec. 12 to Dec.17.