A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families

by International Medical Corps
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families

Project Report | Aug 6, 2015
Fighting a Cholera Outbreak in a South Sudanese Displaced Persons Camp

By Robert Rutherford | Resource Development Officer

Children sign up to receive cholera vaccination
Children sign up to receive cholera vaccination

International Medical Corps has extensive experience in cholera outbreak response and prevention in a variety of countries including Haiti, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Iraq and South Sudan. International Medical Corps began implementing programs in South Sudan more than a decade before the peace agreement was signed. Today, International Medical Corps works in rural and urban areas focusing on improving immediate and long-term health services. Our 87 primary and secondary health facilities provide a fully integrated package of public health services to more than 483,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable populations.

International Medical Corps is currently managing the response to the cholera outbreak at a Juba Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp, which hosts a population of about 30,000. International Medical Corps’ enhanced surveillance system identified “patient zero” at this site, one of the “hotspots” of the current cholera outbreak in South Sudan. As of June 26, 2015, 313 cholera cases have been reported in the country, with 26 deaths.

In the PoC camp, International Medical Corps has three outpatient clinics and a field hospital that includes an emergency department, a 40-bed inpatient facility, a maternity ward with delivery rooms and an operating theater. Cholera cases are diagnosed using rapid diagnostic tests administered by the hospital laboratory. The inpatient department houses a 10-bed isolation ward that is currently operating as a cholera treatment unit for those who test positive. To mitigate the chances of spreading the disease, hygiene measures include hand washing and foot spraying with chlorine on entry and exit from the health facilities. We have trained a group of 35 community health promoters and they are actively sensitizing community members to good hygiene practices, and identifying and referring suspect cases. Our staff has also trained a contact-tracing and case investigation team to investigate every confirmed case.

Cholera, a highly infectious, but treatable diarrheal disease, is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. An estimated 3 to 5 million people contract cholera every year and between 100,000 to 120,000 of those people die as a result. As many as 80% of cases can be treated successfully using oral rehydration salts, but its short incubation period, which ranges from two hours to five days, contributes to the often rapid speed of cholera outbreaks in communities that are without proper water and sanitation systems.

In an effort to stop the outbreak from continuing, International Medical Corps chairs the multiagency cholera task force responsible for cholera response in the camp. With support from WHO and UNICEF, we vaccinated 27,340 people in a four-day oral cholera vaccination campaign in the camp, and followed up with a second round vaccination campaign shortly after. Overall we reached 85% of the registered population. International Medical Corps has treated a total of 69 cases since the beginning of the outbreak, all of whom have recovered. It is with the generous support of GlobalGiving and other donors that International Medical Corps is able to respond to this outbreak with such critically needed, lifesaving support.

Children show where vaccination was received
Children show where vaccination was received
Community health worker shares hygiene information
Community health worker shares hygiene information
Families line up to receive vaccination cards
Families line up to receive vaccination cards
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Organization Information

International Medical Corps

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Kimberly Laney
Los Angeles , CA United States

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