Sudan: Malteser International fights against cholera outbreak

Köln/Yei. Malteser International has been appointed lead agency in a cholera treatment centre in Yei, South Sudan. Having observed a strong cholera outbreak in Yei and the surrounding county in the beginning of March, local authorities adjusted a treatment centre in tents. Volunteers tried to help the sick. But as more and more patients arrived, the volunteers could not handle the situation by themselves. Malteser International now takes the lead and makes sure that there is enough staff, protective clothing, food and security. Unicef, the United Nations Children's Fund, is providing the drugs and fluids needed.

At the moment, there are 25 inpatients per day and a daily new admission from 15 to 20 persons. The staff team with its 30 members - thereof twelve nurses - is lead by a medical doctor. "Initially, cholera cases were occurring in the areas close to the Yei river where many people were taking their water supply", Peter McCanny, Programme Coordinator of Malteser International in Yei, says. "There are not enough boreholes to meet the demand of a fast expanding population due to the influx of returnees to their homeland after 21 years of war." Once the patients arrive at the treatment centre, they can be helped quickly: "The established professional treatment procedures have ensured that patients can recover quickly and return home", Peter McCanny explains.

Local experts estimate that about 500 people have fallen sick up to now, at least six persons already died. And the problem is still far from being solved: "Although the average number of cases has dropped, it may rise once the oncoming rains set in." There are already indications that people in outlying areas who do not have ready access to treatment are dying.

Therefore, the local authorities have engaged in a mass education and awareness campaign throughout the greater Yei area. Malteser International as well as other NGO agencies are supporting this campaign by hygiene, water and sanitation activities.

Malteser International has worked in Sudan since 1998 and has enlarged its activities to Darfur in summer 2004. Actually, twelve international and 275 national staff members assure the basic health care for more than one million people in Sudan.

Attention editorial offices! Peter McCanny, Programme Coordinator of Malteser International in Yei, South Sudan, is available for interviews. Please contact +49 (0) 221 / 9822 - 155.

For its projects in Sudan, Malteser International appeals for donations:

Donation Account 120 120 120
Bank fuer Sozialwirtschaft, Woerthstr.15-17, D-50668 Koeln
Sort Code 370 205 00, IBAN : DE49 3702 0500 0001 0258 01, BIC: BFSWDE33XXX
Reference: "Sudan"

For more Information please contact:

Petra Ipp, Senior Desk Officer Communication, Malteser International
Phone: +49-221-9822-155, Fax +49-221/9822-179;;