UNICEF: Cholera Cases Rapidly Multiplying in South Sudan

May 19, 2014

NEW YORK (May 19, 2014) – The number of cholera cases is rapidly increasing in South Sudan, and the deadly, highly contagious disease appears to be spreading, UNICEF said today.

Since the outbreak of cholera in the capital, Juba, late last week, the reported cholera caseload has doubled every day. Now, there are newly reported cases in two additional states—Jonglei and Upper Nile.  

After the first case was confirmed in Juba four days ago, more than 130 additional cases are now being treated. There are three confirmed deaths. Dozens of children are among the affected.

“The severity of the cholera outbreak is just one manifestation of a country failing its children,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “Cholera puts ever more strain on the most vulnerable, whose health is already compromised by a nutritional crisis.”

Since January, UNICEF has warned of the threat of cholera, due to the desperate overcrowding of camps following continued violence, and now the rainy season.  Last month the children’s agency said that unless nutrition treatment is scaled up immediately, up to 50,000 children under the age of five are likely to die.

In response to the cholera outbreak, UNICEF has helped establish a Cholera Treatment Center at the Juba Teaching Hospital. It is also providing lifesaving supplies—including medicines, protective gear, and equipment—and is expanding preventive measures to halt further spread of the disease across the country. 

However UNICEF in South Sudan urgently needs $10 million so as to continue current lifesaving operations, and increase its cholera prevention work.

Other immediate actions by UNICEF include:

·       Provision of clean water and essential sanitation, in the cholera treatment center and across the country

·       Provision of medical and hygiene equipment, oral rehydration solutions and chlorine to Government authorities and non-governmental organizations in Juba

·       Provision of temporary wards for both triage and patient care at the cholera treatment center

·       Distribution of thousands of liters of clean drinking water at the center, as well as fuel to ensure consistent electricity supply for patient treatment

·       Training of hundreds of health workers, teachers, community leaders and volunteers in Juba on the prevention of cholera symptoms and prevention 

·       Pre-positioning of diarrheal disease kits in “Protection of Civilians” sites

·       Mass dissemination of public health messages in five languages through radio, banners, posters and community mobilization.  

The cholera response in South Sudan is led by the Ministry of Health, with support from the WHO, UNICEF and partners. 

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About UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org