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Cordaid NL
Health care

Health workers prepare for cholera

A recent cholera outbreak in South Sudan has so far killed 39 and affected 1212 people in two States. Cordaid and partners in South Sudan are preparing to respond to the emergency, while being constantly under threat of insecurity and attacks.

According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) information, the cholera outbreak has spread from the capital Juba to the central town of Bor, killing 39 people of which at least 10 children under five. Cordaid and partners in Torit, in the neighboring state of Eastern Equatoria, have established a cholera task force and treatment center in the Hospital, preparing for the worst to come their way.

Cordaid and partners in Torit have established a cholera task force and treatment center, preparing for the worst

Risk

Cholera response equipment and medical kits are on standby and hospital staff has received additional sensitization training. Surveillance for potential cholera patients is ongoing, with patients’ stool samples being sent to Juba weekly for check-up. So far, no cases in Torit have been reported, but considering its close proximity to Juba and Bor, Country Director Arvind Das expects that some cases will reach the town before long.

The outbreak of the disease is caused by many people not having access to safe drinking water. Inflation has skyrocketed, and the prices of bottled water have more than doubled so that poor people can no longer afford to buy. Water trucks have stopped delivering to distant areas since the fuel prices have increased. Also, the government is not capable of paying for chlorine treatment of the water. Many people have now resorted to drinking infected water from the Nile and other open water sources. If no acute treatment is provided, cholera can lead to dehydration and death within 48 hours.

Prices of bottled water have more than doubled, so that poor people can no longer afford to buy

Bombs on Cordaid office

Cholera is easily preventable with the right sanitation measures, but unfortunately South Sudan is not able to take action due to the toll of the ongoing conflict and violence.

Insecurity also threatens our health workers in their daily work, recently hitting a new low when a Cordaid office in Upper Nile State was hit by a random air bombing attack. The front and rear gates of the compound, the toilet and part of the bathroom were destroyed. “The local staff is unharmed, but has been relocated to Juba until the security situation improves,” Arvind Das reports.

South Sudan is currently the world’s third most unsafe country for aid workers

South Sudan is currently the world’s third most unsafe country for aid workers, with 18 direct attacks on aid workers reported last year. Peace talks have not been successful until now, although recent developments suggest that a new accord is on its way.