WHO is working with South Sudan’s health ministry and partners to scale up use of oral cholera vaccines.
The UN agency said that it will strengthen strategies for improving access to patient care, surveillance and social mobilisation to combat outbreaks.
WHO said in a statement on Thursday that it has received 500,000 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) for a planned campaign scheduled to take place from July 28 to Aug. 3 in four selected counties with high active transmission.
The UN health agency said a total of 17,785 cholera cases including 320 deaths have been reported from 24 counties in South Sudan since the outbreak was reported in June 2016.
The agency said it is helping South Sudan implement the integrated approach for cholera control, which seeks to harness strategies for improving access to patient care, surveillance, social mobilisation, water and sanitation among others.
Joseph Wamala, WHO epidemiologist said cholera is endemic in South Sudan.
“Historically, outbreaks have occurred along major commercial routes and rivers in the dry season as well as during the rainy season, adding that a successful vaccination campaign would scale down further outbreaks.
“South Sudan has suffered from several major cholera outbreaks in the last four years.
“Following other successful oral cholera vaccine campaigns, WHO and partners can make a real difference in controlling the outbreak in Tonj and Kapoeta states and in other parts of the country,” Wamala said.
The WHO said with some six million people in South Sudan facing starvation, there is possibility of the cholera outbreak spreading further across the East African nation.
The UN agency said it has scaled up collaboration with partners to abate the situation.
It said that drought has also contributed to the drying of water points in some regions leading to the population using contaminated water from the remaining few unprotected points leading to repeated outbreaks of water-borne diseases including cholera.
The WHO said it has been working with its partner to combat the outbreak across the country, particularly in places facing famine, food insecurity and disease outbreaks.
According to the WHO, many countries and partners have introduced OCVs as part of their cholera control programs in endemic and epidemic settings.