UN steps up efforts to prevent Cholera outbreak in South Sudan

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Juba, July 21 (IANS) Unicef on Thursday said it had increased its response efforts amid a rise in the number of suspected cases of cholera in South Sudan which had left more than 10 persons dead.

Unicef’s representative in South Sudan Mahimbo Mdoe said the UN agency has teamed up with the Ministry of Health and partnered agencies in providing medical supplies, sanitation services and community awareness, Xinhua news agency reported.

“A fast and coordinated response is key to preventing a cholera outbreak. That’s underway, despite the fact that life in Juba was completely brought to a standstill for days by the recent violence and many humanitarian organisations have since evacuated staff,” Mdoe said in a statement.

The Juba Teaching hospital reported 69 new suspected cases were admitted on Wednesday, bringing the total number of people being treated in the capital to 112.

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An additional 29 suspected cases had been reported in Duk Island in Jonglei state.

Nationwide, there were now 141 suspected cholera cases with six reported deaths.

Unicef and partners are providing medicines, intravenous drips and other items to treat the illness.

“Chlorine has been provided for use in the handwashing stations put in place in the isolation unit. Elsewhere in Juba, five oral rehydration points have been established where people who feel ill can receive rehydration solutions and be referred to a clinic,” Unicef said.

According to the health authorities, more than 40 persons died in South Sudan in a cholera outbreak in 2015 while 167 died from the disease in 2014.

Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease, usually spread by contaminated water and food, and can cause severe diarrhea which, in extreme cases, can lead to fatal dehydration and kidney failure within hours.

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