More than 63 thousand people have been vaccinated with oral cholera vaccine in some parts of Jonglei state, the World Health Organization has announced.
The vaccination campaign took place in Bor South County from 16th to 20th December 2020.
“During this first round of oral cholera vaccination, 88 per cent of the target population were reached with the vaccine,” a statement partially read.
The preventive campaign was conducted by the Jonglei State Ministry of Health with support from WHO, UNICEF, and partners -with financial support from GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.
The Ministry of Health said over 63,280 individuals aged one year and above were vaccinated against cholera.
Cholera is a waterborne disease that is transmitted by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with Vibrio cholera, the bacteria that causes the disease.
Patients often present with watery diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration, abdominal pains and muscle cramps.
WHO notes that at least 28, 676 cases with 644 cholera related deaths were reported in South Sudan between 2014 and 2017.
In a statement issued yesterday, the health partners said the vaccination was necessary to prevent the risk of a cholera outbreak following the devastating floods that displaced communities and led to contamination of water sources in Bor.
They said over 500, 000 people in Bor South and other counties in Jonglei experienced an increase in acute watery diarrhoea cases that accounted for 12 per cent of total consultations.
The trends, the statement said, were attributed to the congestion in the displacement sites, contamination of safe water sources and the poor hygiene conditions both in the IDP sites and the towns.
“The cholera vaccine provides immediate protection to the vulnerable populations in the aftermath of flooding and before sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions are implemented, said Dr. Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative for South Sudan.
He underscored that the vaccines along with improved access to safe water, sanitation and other interventions are effective for cholera prevention.
South Sudan has experienced several cholera outbreaks since gaining independence in July 2011.
WHO stated that the recurrent outbreaks demonstrate the continued vulnerability of the population to the disease, which is preventable and treatable.
A total of 71, 852 doses of vaccines were secured for the first round to prevent the risk of a cholera outbreak in high-risk areas of Bor county.
The second round is scheduled to start in the first week of January 2021 to ensure full protection from cholera for the next three years.
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