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1,350 cholera cases: South Sudan battles outbreak

Akim Mugisa
The cholera case count in South Sudan has reached 1,350 infected people and 43 people died to date.
30.07.2015  |  Juba

The Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Makur Matur Koriom, confirmed the figures during an inspection tour of four Cholera Treatment Centres (CTCs) in the capital Juba.

Cholera is a disease of poverty, underdevelopment and ignorance” Makur told The Niles, while responding to concerns why Juba has remained the epicentre of cholera outbreaks in the last decade.

He added that most of the cases recorded were from the slum areas of Gumbo, Munuki, New Site, Gudele One and Gudele Two, where people live in unhygienic environments.

Makur explained that this year’s fatality rate was at three percent of the reported cases as compared to the 2014 outbreak that claimed up to ten percent of the victims.

He attributed this year’s lower fatality to a high level” of support and response from health partners that include WHO, UNICEF, MedAir, MSF Holland and HealthLink, among others.

Dr. Winston Mulanda is the Deputy Medical Director with MSF Holland that is operating the Munuki Cholera Treatment Centre.

The reason to establish a centre here was to decompress Juba Hospital, which is busy, and to shorten the distance for patients,” he said.

The Munuki centre receives cases from areas of New Site, Gudele One, Gudele Two and Munuki itself.

The Ministry of Health declared the outbreak in late June and issued preventive guidelines including warnings against open air and roadside selling of foodstuffs and drinks.

However, the warnings haven’t been taken serious by many.

Among the cholera victims is Maneno Julie, a tea vendor and a resident of Nyakuron East. She sits restlessly on a hospital bed at Juba Teaching Hospital Cholera Treatment Centre.

She explained: I was at my place where I sell tea. I developed vomiting and diarrhoea. I was confirmed positive of the disease when I arrived here and currently receive treatment.”

57 children are among the cases receiving treatment at the same centre.

Central Equatoria State Minister of Health, Sanitation and Environment, Felix Lado Johnson, also attributes the recurring cholera outbreaks in the city to poor sanitation with about 60 percent of residents having no access to clean drinking water.

Most are depended on water from the Nile where they fetch or buy water delivered to their homes by water trucks.

Juba is unique because of being overcrowded as compared to other parts of the country,” Ladu added.

The officials confirmed that Juba and Bor were the only areas affected by the outbreak as earlier reports of acute diarrhoea in Rumbek, Yei and Torit were not due to cholera.

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