To help stem the spread of disease in crowded displacement sites in South Sudan, IOM health teams are promoting preventative health care, including two cholera vaccination campaigns benefiting 113,600 internally displaced persons (IDPs).
From 13–16 August and 2–5 September, IOM, with the support of its partners, conducted a two-round oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaign at the UN protection of civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, Upper Nile State, reaching more than 42,300 people with at least one dose of the vaccine.
Preventing the spread of the deadly disease is critical, as the recent influx of IDPs has led to crowded living conditions for the estimated 45,400 people seeking shelter at the site.
IOM also led a two-round OCV at the UN PoC site in Bentiu, Unity State, in June, vaccinating more than 71,200 people against the disease. As hundreds of IDPs continue to arrive at the PoC each day, additional cholera vaccines have been dispatched to the site. The Bentiu PoC site is providing protection and shelter for 116,700 people, an increase of more than 50 per cent since April.
“These preventative efforts are particularly crucial as the country faces a number of water-borne disease outbreaks, only one of which is cholera. With the start of the rainy season, IOM clinics have seen a more than doubling of confirmed malaria cases since mid-July,” explains IOM South Sudan Migration Health Programme Coordinator Haley West.
IOM provides diagnostics and treatment for malaria and supports malaria prevention for pregnant women. Health promoters also spread messages on good hygiene habits, which are a vital element of disease prevention.
At IOM’s clinics in Bentiu, Malakal and Renk, Upper Nile, health care professionals also regularly vaccinate children against diseases, such as measles and polio. During the past two weeks alone, IOM administered routine vaccinations for more than 1,100 children under five.
Since a cholera outbreak was declared on 23 June, health providers have reported 1,735 cholera cases, including 46 deaths, in South Sudan, according to South Sudan’s Ministry of Health and the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
The OCV campaign in Malakal was funded by the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) Rapid Response Fund and the Government of Japan.
International Office of Migration (IOM)