UNICEF, in coordination with partners, responded to a suspected Meningitis outbreak (173 suspected cases; 31 deaths reported) in Eastern Equatoria, first reported 15 February. UNICEF supported with case management through the provision of essential drugs/supplies, establishing a treatment center, and community engagement and social mobilization through UNICEF’s partner (South Sudan Red Cross) whose trained volunteers conducted house-to-house sensitizations on meningitis and community surveillance.
Food insecurity and the nutrition situation remains dire, with further deterioration projected in May/July if appropriate, timely and integrated interventions are not taken. UNICEF has actioned a 180-day response plan but funding is critical for scale up efforts, especially in WASH and Health.
Ten Integrated Rapid Response Missions (IRRMs) with WFP have been conducted in most affected counties including Panyijaar, Baggari, Nassir, Raja, and Rubkona, reaching 131,819 people, including 28,317 children under the age of five. The UNICEF and WFP IRRM partnership has expanded to include FAO, providing beneficiaries with additional life-saving services.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Despite February’s declaration of the end of South Sudan’s longest and largest cholera outbreak, there is high risk of a new outbreak in South Sudan with the oncoming rainy season, coupled with poor sanitation condition, poor water and food handling practices. Children and women are the most vulnerable to an outbreak. The deteriorating food insecurity and nutrition situation could decrease the immunity of malnourished children, thereby increasing the consequences of a cholera outbreak. Other disease outbreaks (e.g. measles, and malaria) could also worsen the morbidity and mortality of children. The outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) continues to evolve in Eastern Lakes State, South Sudan, with another county affected. As of 9 March 2018, a total of 40 cases and four deaths have been reported from Yirol East (37 cases, 4 deaths) and Yirol West (3 cases, no deaths) counties. Of these, a total of six confirmed, three probable and 12 suspect RVF cases (with pending laboratory results) have been reported. Nineteen suspected cases were considered as non-cases following negative laboratory results for RVF. The majority of suspected cases have been women (57.1 per cent), and individuals aged 20-39 years make up the majority (72.2 per cent) of cases.
A suspected meningitis outbreak in Eastern Equatoria, first reported on 15 February, is on the decline with only two suspected cases reported in week 12 (19-25 March). A total of 173 cases with 31 deaths (CFR= 17.92 per cent) have been reported since the index case.
The February 2018 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projected 6.3 million (57 per cent) and 7.1 million (63 per cent) of the population are facing crisis and emergency (IPC Phases 4 and 3 respectively) acute food insecurity in the absence of humanitarian assistance in February-April and May-July 2018, respectively. 55,150 people are projected to face catastrophic nutrition conditions in February-April and May-July 2018, respectively.