South Sudan

Aiming to stop the risk of cholera transmission in Juba

Juba, 20 June 2022 – With support from WHO and Health Cluster partners, the Ministry of Health is targeting to vaccinate over 633 000 people against cholera in Juba county of South Sudan.

"The oral cholera vaccine (OCV) confer immunity up to a maximum of three years. We appreciate the efforts of the state Ministry of Health and partners in organizing the campaign", said Honorable Yolanda Awel Deng Juach, Minister of Health, Republic of South Sudan.

"It is a high time another round of OCV is conducted to prevent the occurrence of cholera in Juba. And I urge everyone eligible for this vaccine to receive the oral cholera vaccine in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from Cholera", said Hon. Awel.

Cholera is a killer disease but can be prevented if people have access to clean drinking water and adequate toilet facilities. It affects both children and adults and can lead to death within hours if untreated. Cholera spread through contaminated food and water and it can spread quickly and widely in overcrowded, unclean conditions.

The country has faced several outbreaks of cholera affecting vulnerable populations living in internally displaced people's (IDP) camps, urban informal settlements, cattle camps as well as rural populations, island dwellers, and communities along the River Nile.

From 2014-2017 South Sudan reported over 28 600 cases of cholera leading to 644 deaths. There were no cholera cases confirmed from 2018 - 2021. Currently, an outbreak of cholera was declared in Bentiu, Unity State on 7 May 2022 with a positive culture result obtained from National Public Health Laboratory on 14 April 2022.

Oral cholera vaccination campaigns, along with water, sanitation, and hygiene and other interventions including reinforced messages on safe drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH), is critical to reverse the current cholera trends in South Sudan and achieve the global target of attaining a 90% reduction of cholera deaths by 2030.

"Oral cholera vaccines provide protection in the immediate term and serve as a bridge to rolling out long-term and sustainable WASH interventions in cholera hotspots", said Dr Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative a.i. to South Sudan. "Cholera has been spreading in populations with inadequate hygiene and sanitation conditions, hence sustained and intensified cholera prevention and response efforts are critical for mitigating the risk of recurrent and persistent cholera outbreaks".

We appreciate the financial support from Gavi, and the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on vaccine provision, which brings together WHO, IOM, UNICEF, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), said Dr Ndenzako. These efforts are critical now as we have cholera cases in Unity state and the rainy season has already started in most parts of the country.

Since January 2022, over 175 000 people have been vaccinated in the first and second rounds of Oral Cholera Vaccination campaigns in Bentiu and Rubkona counties in Unity state.

Technical contacts:

Dr Guracha Guyo, Email: guyoa@who.int

Dr Mustafa Lasu, Email: lasum@who.int