An open-air sewage channel is seen, amid a cholera outbreak - REUTERS
GENEVA - 8 August 2017: As the rainy season progresses in South Sudan, rapid responses are critical to stemming the cholera outbreak that has affected the country for over a year.
The outbreak has compounded already dire humanitarian needs. Approximately four million people have been displaced by the conflict that erupted in December 2013.
Since 18 June 2016, over 18,000 cholera cases—including 328 deaths—have been reported in South Sudan. IOM health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) teams continue to respond to the outbreak through case management and preventive measures across the country, Relief Web reported on Tuesday.
Disease outbreaks are particularly dangerous for displaced and vulnerable populations, such as children under five years of age, who account for more than one in five cholera cases reported in 2017.
Many locations experiencing outbreaks are in proximity to the Nile River, increasing the impact of the rainy season on the cholera outbreak and threat of spreading further.
“In a country with mass displacement and severe levels of food insecurity, the effect of the continued cholera outbreak on the health of vulnerable populations is acute,” explained Dr. Beldina Gikundi, IOM South Sudan Migration Health Emergency Officer.
“As we saw the outbreak continue even during the dry season in 2017, we expect to see the trend persist throughout the rainy season, which leaves as much as 60 per cent of the country inaccessible by road. Sustained and flexible responses are crucial to stemming the continued transmission of the disease in this extremely challenging context.”