In collaboration with local health authorities, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has opened a cholera treatment center (CTC) in Juba, South Sudan, in response to an outbreak of the disease declared by the Ministry of Health (MoH) on June 23.
The 800 square meter facility is located in the neighborhood of Munuki, Block A, and is designed to be expandable up to a 150-bed capacity if necessary. As of July 7, 710 cases and 33 deaths have been reported in the South Sudanese capital by local authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Residents who suspect they may be suffering from cholera can receive free, high-quality medical treatment at this facility,” says Paul Critchley, MSF head of mission in South Sudan. “This is a modern treatment center built to high standards in coordination with the Ministry of Health, which leads the Cholera Task Force. This center is providing an urgently needed medical service to the community.”
Cholera is a water-borne bacterial disease that causes profuse diarrhea, vomiting, and rapid dehydration. It is treated by replacing patients’ fluids and electrolytes, either intravenously or with an oral rehydration solution. Cholera treatment offered at the MSF CTC significantly reduces patients’ risk of dying from the disease.
MSF has taken extensive measures to provide a high level of medical care to patients, and CTCs also protect the health and safety of the local communities in which they are built. MSF has employed over 130 South Sudanese staff in the construction and operation of the CTC.
MSF is also supporting the MoH response to suspected cholera cases in Bor State Hospital, in Jonglei State, where 59 cases and one death have been reported. In Bor, MSF teams are providing technical and logistical support and curative treatment at the hospital’s cholera treatment unit.
In a separate outbreak of cholera in South Sudan last year, MSF treated over 3,300 patients—more than 50 percent of all confirmed cases in the country that year.
As a leading international medical organization, MSF has extensive experience responding to cholera outbreaks, treating over 45,000 cholera patients globally in 2014.
MSF is one of the largest medical and humanitarian aid providers in South Sudan, with more than 3,100 staff operating projects in six of the country’s ten states. MSF teams in South Sudan are also responding to health needs including surgery, obstetrics, malaria, kala azar, vaccinations against preventable diseases, and malnutrition.