MSF vaccinates over 200,000 people against cholera in Juba
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) concluded a four-week preventive oral vaccination campaign in Juba. Working with the health authorities and partners, the organisation vaccinated more than 200,000 people against the deadly disease.
MSF Press Release
The preventive vaccination campaign was held from April 24 to May 22 in 12 areas of Juba where people were identified most at risk in previous cholera outbreaks. During the past four weeks, 201,737 people above the age of 12 months were vaccinated against the disease.
The preventive campaign was the second round of an earlier campaign MSF conducted in September and October 2017, which reached nearly 200,000 people in the same areas.
Oral cholera vaccine is typically given in two doses, to increase immunity. Among the people who received the cholera vaccine during the campaign, 53% received the second dose of the vaccine, increasing the level of protection and extending their immunity from one year to three to five years.
“Through the work of MSF’s teams, health authorities and partners, over 200,000 women, men and children were vaccinated during this preventive campaign, with over half receiving a second dose of the vaccine. The second dose will provide even better protection against the deadly disease in areas of historically high rates of cholera transmission”, says Will Harper, head of mission for MSF in South Sudan. “The campaign has helped to provide protection to a population that most needs it, at a critical time now that the rainy season has started”.
In February, the health authorities have declared the end of its longest and most recent cholera epidemic, with 20,000 suspected cases and 436 deaths reported in the country.
The risks of cholera are increased by the inadequacy of water sources and sanitation facilities. The rainy season will most likely increase these risks, as directly impacting the speed and range of transmission of the disease. Proper hygiene practices are also fundamental as preventive measures.
Millions of people around the world continue to be affected by cholera every year, with up to 140,000 deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization.
In recent years in South Sudan, MSF has carried out oral cholera vaccinations campaigns, both to prevent and to contain epidemics, supported water and sanitation activities, and treated thousands of cholera patients in multiple areas of the country.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has worked in South Sudan since 1983, bringing much-needed medical care in many parts of the country where access to healthcare and other humanitarian services remain limited. Drawing on its values of independence, neutrality, and impartiality, MSF is able to respond quickly to medical emergencies, delivering medical assistance based on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. MSF currently operates 16 projects throughout South Sudan.