JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN/NEW YORK, JULY 29, 2016 — The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is responding to a cholera outbreak in Juba by vaccinating people at high risk, providing clean drinking water and supporting medical treatment, as more than 300 cases have been recorded in the city, including five deaths.
On July 27 and 28, MSF vaccinated about 4,000 people living at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba’s Tomping camp. More than six suspected cholera cases have been reported in the camp, where living conditions leave residents at greater risk. In the coming days, people who have been in close contact with cholera patients and health workers caring for affected patients will also be vaccinated.
“These targeted vaccinations will help to limit the spread of cholera among people who are more at risk,” said Stephanie Remion, MSF head of mission. “They are part of a wider strategy that is aiming to bring the outbreak to an end as quickly as possible.”
MSF is also supporting the Ministry of Health in running a cholera treatment center at Juba Teaching Hospital, caring for patients and providing training in best treatment practices.
“With early diagnosis and treatment, people have a very good chance of survival,” said Anja Wolz, MSF emergency coordinator. “Treatment starts at home—people should drink oral rehydration solution and then seek medical care as quickly as possible.”
MSF has trucked more than 1.5 million liters of drinking water to people in Juba this month. The teams initially focused on sites where large numbers of people fled the violence that erupted in the city earlier this month. They are now concentrating on providing clean water to areas affected by cholera, in order to prevent a larger outbreak.
MSF is also running three mobile clinics in Juba in response to other medical needs since the violence erupted, treating more than 6,000 people so far.
Initially, these clinics provided care for gunshot wounds and injuries sustained as people fled the fighting. Among those injured included children as young as two years old who had been shot when armed men broke into their homes. The teams also noticed people coming for treatment for physical symptoms that were the result of the mental trauma they had endured.
The mobile clinics are now mostly treating people for health concerns such as malaria, skin infections, stomach problems, respiratory tract infections, malnutrition and diarrhea.
MSF is providing surgical care in Juba to people more seriously injured in the violence. The surgical team has now operated on more than 30 people, with three to five surgeries per day.
MSF’s longstanding medical work also continues in locations across South Sudan.