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S. Sudan health ministry, partners launch anti-cholera campaign

September 30, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s Ministry of Health and partners have launched a mass cholera vaccination campaign targeting up to 200,000 people.

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

Ante Wind, deputy medical coordinator of medical charity, Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), said the latest vaccination drive seeks to curb outbreaks and enhance protection of people against the deadly diarrheal disease that has killed over 320 people since the outbreak was reported in June 2016.

“We are targeting 200,000 people in Juba and the locations that we are targeting are either active or historic hotspots of cholera transmission. We hope that after the campaign, at least a third of Juba will be protected against cholera for the next three years or maybe longer years,” Wind said.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The disease remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity and lack of social development.

Last month, World Health Organization (WHO) said nearly 20,000 cholera cases including 320 deaths were reported from 24 counties within the war-torn nation.

WHO, however, said it had provided 500,000 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OVC) to be used in high-risk areas and further strengthened strategies for improving access to patient care, surveillance and social mobilization to combat its further outbreaks.

According to WHO, disease is a leading cause of death in war-torn South Sudan with an estimated 1.3 million people said to have been fallen ill with malaria this year alone, while thousands are affected by cholera and measles, particularly along the Nile River and in camps for displaced people.

(ST)