JUBA, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that it has secured oral cholera vaccines in an effort to rapidly contain the resurgence of cholera in South Sudan.
WHO said the vaccines will be used to vaccinate the communities in Leer Town and other areas.
"Insecurity coupled with sub-optimal access to safe water and sanitation infrastructure allowed the bacteria to spread to 12 counties in 9 states across the country," WHO Epidemiologist. Dr Wamala Joseph Francis said in a statement issued in Juba.
With Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates that exceed 30 percent in the two locations. Co-morbidity with cholera will result in rapid spread and high fatality rates.
Since October 2016, Leer town and Mayendit North have been affected by cholera outbreaks with limited humanitarian access.
Cholera is a potentially fatal water-borne disease transmitted through contaminated water and/or food. It causes watery diarrhea and vomiting that can rapidly lead to death through severe dehydration.
To slow the current surge in cholera cases, WHO and partners have secured the initial batch of 68,967 doses of oral cholera vaccine for Leer, Padeah, and Thonyor in Leer county.
MedAir, an emergency operational health cluster partner will coordinate the deployment of the vaccine alongside WFP's food distribution headcount on Feb 27.
"Delivering this safe, affordable and effective oral cholera vaccine in South Sudan is vital to help tackle the rise in cholera cases," WHO Representative to South Sudan, Dr Abdulmumini Usman.
"While access to clean water and sanitation systems is the ultimate solution to stopping the spread of cholera, we must utilize all tools available to help prevent continued needless deaths," said Usman.
The complementary oral cholera vaccine vaccination campaigns should interrupt all the residual transmission in high-risk populations and hotspot areas in the immediate term thus allowing time for government and partners to improve access to safe water and sanitation.
Since 2014, South Sudan has conducted oral cholera vaccine campaigns on an annual basis, vaccinating over 600,000 people with vaccines sourced from the International Coordinating Group (ICG) emergency stockpile.