JUBA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- A cholera outbreak in South Sudan has claimed 462 lives and affected 21,571 others since the onset of the outbreak on June 18, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
WHO said in a statement issued in Juba that this has been the longest and largest outbreak in magnitude and geographical extent, its impact exacerbated by the protracted crisis, insecurity, displacements and declining access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
"As part of the ongoing cholera response, the Ministry of Health of South Sudan with support from WHO and partners has deployed cholera vaccines to complement traditional cholera response strategies in several high-risk populations and locations," it said.
According to the WHO Epidemiologist Joseph Wamala, the use of Oral Cholera Vaccine will bridge the transition from cholera treatment and emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions to multi-sectoral interventions including long-term WASH interventions to prevent recurrence of outbreaks in cholera hotspots.
"From the 2.18 million doses secured by WHO in 2017, a total of 1.13 million doses have already been deployed with 879, 239 doses used during the first round and 254,340 doses utilized in second round campaigns in 16 cholera-affected and high-risk populations countrywide," the UN agency said.
WHO in collaboration with the ministry of health and partners, recently resolved to develop a revised cholera response strategy that is aligned with the Global Cholera Roadmap 2030.
The strategy will aim to reduce cholera deaths by 90 percent before 2030 in South Sudan, WHO said.
To attain this target, the overall leadership and coordination of cholera prevention and response activities will be enhanced through the formation of a multi-sectoral cholera control program
"When used alongside other interventions for improving access to safe water and sanitation, oral cholera vaccines are very effective for cholera prevention and control, giving protection to those at risk, especially when the recommended two doses are administered," said Pinyi, Director General for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health of South Sudan.
The campaigns in Kapoeta South, Kapoeta East, and Tonj East are already underway from Dec. 12 to 17.