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Fangak killer disease identified

By James Atem Kuir

Government investigations into an undiagnosed illness that reportedly killed at least 89 people recently in the flood hitFangak County has identified malaria, acute watery diarrhea among other ailments to be possible the cause behind the deaths.

In a press release obtained by Juba Monitor yesterday,the National Ministry of Health said it noted an upsurge in malaria cases in the area which has barely a health facility to serve the population mostly comprising IDPs made homeless by the unprecedented flood that has hit Jonglei among states hard this year.

“The Ministry of Health with partners have deployed teams on the ground who have clearly identified the health issues on the ground.

“Fangak County is among the most flood-affected locations in South Sudan in 2021. This has increased burden of common endemic diseases such as malaria, acute watery diarrhea among others. Besides, New Fangak areas sit along the Phow River and Sudd swamp which become a challenge to mobility of the population. Only motorized boats are used during flooding season,” read in part the report shared yesterday.

The Ministry of Health dispatched the fact-finding mission to the area last week to probe the mystery illness after local authorities sounded alarm of increased deaths mostly among children, women and elderly in November.

The health authorities said that area officials had reported an ailment with symptoms including diarrhea, high fever, joint pain, vomiting, body weakness, loss of appetite and chest pains.

“Furthermore, the investigations highlighted that communities in New Fangak are served by Pakaan PHCC which is inaccessible during the flood season. The only one health service point in New Fangak is not adequate to serve all the population.

“It is worth noting that, this time of the year, Malaria is expected to surge and if not promptly treated, it may lead to excess deaths,” the report said.

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