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IOM and partners target 140,000 with vaccines in S. Sudan

April 12, 2018 (JUBA) - The United Nations migration agency (IOM) and its partners are set to begin a second round of an oral cholera vaccination campaign in Malakal and Wau, South Sudan, after the initial round reached more than 60,400 people in March this year.

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

Following a cholera outbreak in the country in February, IOM said it has also been leading a reactive measles vaccination campaign in Aweil East, which reached more than 83,700 children last month.

“Children are extremely vulnerable to outbreaks of measles and other contagious diseases,” said Derebe Tadesse, IOM’s migration health officer.

“The measles vaccine will save lives. With just one dose, 85 percent of children over nine months and 95 percent of children over twelve months of age are immune,” he added.

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

The conflict in South Sudan, now in its fifth year, has led to protracted displacement and poor health conditions, contributing to yearly cholera outbreaks.

In 2017, however, IOM said it reached more than 469,800 people with oral cholera vaccination campaigns in Unity, Warrap, and Eastern Equatoria states.

“With an estimated 5.1 million people in need of emergency health care assistance, IOM continues to work country-wide to provide aid to vulnerable populations affected by the conflict,” the agency said.

(ST)