CHOLERA: MSF vaccinates high risk groups in Juba

Monday, August 1, 2016 — JUBA, 1 August 2016  - The international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) launched a vaccination campaign to protect people who have a higher risk of contracting cholera in Juba, South Sudan. The first phase of the campaign covered 4,000 people living at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Tomping. The vaccinations will took place on Wednesday (27 July) and Thursday (28 July).

Two hundred and thirty three cases of cholera have now been recorded in Juba and five people have died from the disease. In Tomping camp, six suspected cholera cases have been reported, which, together with the living conditions at the camp, leaves its residents at a higher risk of contracting the disease. In the coming days, people who have been in close contact with those who have cholera and health workers caring for affected patients will also be vaccinated.

"These targeted vaccinations help to limit the spread of cholera amongst people who are more at risk," said Stephanie Remion, MSF Head of Mission. "They are part of a wider strategy that is aiming bring the outbreak to an end as quickly as possible." 

As well as providing targeted vaccinations, MSF is supporting the MoH to run a cholera Treatment Centre at the Juba Teaching Hospital. MSF medics are providing care and training MoH staff in best practice for cholera treatment. 

"We want to make sure people know that if they have watery diarrhea more than three times in one day then they may have cholera," said Anja Wolz, MSF Emergency Coordinator. "With early diagnosis and treatment, people have a very good chance of survival. Treatment starts at home - people should drink Oral Rehydration Solution and then seek medical care as quickly as possible."

People who think they have Cholera should go to their nearest Oral Rehydration Points (ORPs), which have been set up at the following hospitals and health centres; Gurei, Kator, Lologo, Gumbo, Munuki, Gorom, Morobo, Mahad, Khor Williams, Al Geida, Al Sabbah Children's Hospital and  Juba Teaching Hospital. The points are open between 7am and 6pm every day. If people are very ill, or become unwell at night when the ORPs are closed, they can come to the Juba Teaching Hospital for treatment. 

Over the past two weeks, MSF has trucked more than one and a half million litres of clean drinking water to people in Juba, which also helps to protect against outbreaks. 

"People can help to protect their families by making sure that the water they drink is clean and safe," said Anja Wolz. "Other things that can help to limit the spread of Cholera include using latrines, washing hands with soap or ash, and making sure that the places where food is prepared and eaten are clean." 

MSF teams continue to run mobile clinics in three locations across Juba and have now treated more than 6,000 people in the city. The organisation is also providing surgeries to people who were more seriously wounded during the recent violence, and is continuing to provide free healthcare across South Sudan.