Photo: People line up for registration at a vaccination site. South Sudan 2013 © Corinne Baker/MSF
Preventing Cholera in South Sudan’s Remote Refugee Camps
MSF teams have completed a preventive cholera vaccination campaign in and around the refugee camps in Maban County, South Sudan. Hoping to prevent the spread of the potentially fatal disease, staff vaccinated 105,000 refugees in four camps and 27,500 other residents of the area.
MSF launched the vaccination campaign with the cooperation of South Sudan’s Ministry of Health as part of a cholera preparedness and prevention plan. While teams have already set up and pre-stocked cholera treatment facilities in the camps, the remoteness of the area and supply challenges mean that a cholera outbreak could be disastrous. That’s what makes the added prevention provided by a vaccination campaign so crucial.
“The key for preventing cholera is to ensure sufficient access to clean drinking water, and to have appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities,” says Paul Critchley, MSF emergency coordinator in Maban County. “We are currently tackling an escalating hepatitis E outbreak in the camps, so we know that sanitation conditions here are not yet adequate. Hepatitis E is spread in similar ways to cholera, and this reinforces the need to do all we can to prevent cholera breaking out too.”