Cholera Outbreak Confirmed in Juba

1648 Views Juba, South Sudan

In short
South Sudan’s health ministry says 14 of the suspected cases are currently admitted at the isolation ward in Juba Teaching Hospital, and one case at IBI clinic in Gudele. The authorities however fear that the disease will spread to the overcrowded displaced people camps which are in appalling conditions.

South Sudan’s Ministry of Health has formally declared a cholera outbreak in Juba and the Central Equatoria State. It says that 18 suspected cases have been found, with one confirmed death.

The 18 suspected cases reported so far originate from various neighborhoods of Juba. One of the suspected cases was confirmed last week by tests conducted by the AMREF laboratory in Nairobi, according to a Press Release issued last evening.

The confirmation echoes an earlier report by the UN coordination agency (OCHA) which first raised an alarm on the outbreak of Cholera in Juba on May 10th. However at the time, the UN agency said that none of the people close to the victim appeared to have caught the disease.

South Sudan’s health ministry says 14 of the suspected cases are currently admitted at the isolation ward in Juba Teaching Hospital, and one case at IBI clinic in Gudele. The Authorioties however fear that the disease will spread to the overcrowded dispalced people camps which are in appalling conditions.

According to the ministry’s statement, health agencies have conducted cholera vaccination campaigns in Juba displaced camps, but these measures are potentially inadequate: “A lot of interventions are still need to be put in place to ensure that outbreak is promptly contained,” the ministry warned.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is preparing to make airdrops of relief aid at specific locations in South Sudan, the organization said in a press release.

ICRC expects oncoming rains to complicate the delivery of aid as roads become impassable and aircraft landing strips turn into mud. The ICRC says airdrops will be used to bring in large quantities of food, seed and other essential aid.

“Our staff on the ground are assessing needs and making the necessary preparations to take delivery of the aid being dropped at specific locations,” said Franz Rauchenstein, head of the ICRC delegation in South Sudan.

The UN World Food Programme is the lead agency for food airdrops in South Sudan, but ICRC drops will be supplementing the UN effort.

Eric Marclay, the ICRC's head of operations for East Africa said, “Despite the massive aid effort already under way, the living conditions of displaced people in South Sudan remain alarming. Hundreds of thousands live in makeshift camps, their usual means of earning a living totally disrupted.”