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Sudan: ICRC responds to cholera outbreak in Juba

21-02-2006 News Release

The following was issued as a press release by the ICRC delegation in Khartoum on 21 February 2006

In response to the recent cholera outbreak in Southern Sudan, the ICRC is currently airlifting some thirty metric tonnes of emergency medical supplies to Juba, the regional capital. The medicines include infusions and oral re-hydration salts which are urgently needed to treat the sick and to boost fast depleting medical stocks.

Two rotations by air from Nairobi are being made to deliver the medicine for patients hospitalized at the Juba Teaching Hospital (JTH). Over the next few days, additional assistance is scheduled to reach Juba by air from the ICRC's logistics base at Lokichokio, in northern Kenya.

Until today, 809 people have been admitted to the JTH and twenty four of them have died. In Juba town 1'041 cases have been reported and an additional thirty five people are reported to have died from the disease.

The first cases of cholera were reported at the end of January in Yei town, southwest of Juba and the first occurrence of cholera was reported in Juba on February 6. The ICRC team assisted JTH in the management and expansion of an isolation ward and installed an emergency water supply system with a 10'000 litre capacity water-bladder. Chlorination levels were also increased for the isolation ward. The hospital's septic tank was emptied and two sewage pumps are now arriving in Juba. All around the compound of the JTH, some 20 containers equipped with washing facilities were installed to promote personal hygiene. With these and other preventative measures, taken at the very beginning of the outbreak, the ICRC has contributed to limiting the spread of the disease at the hospital and in the town itself. 

The ICRC is coordinating its efforts with the South Sudan health authorities and is liaising with other relevant humanitarian agencies on the spot. The Sudanese Red Crescent is active in health education, sanitation and house visits while the Netherlands Red Cross is operating a primary health care centre in Juba. In Lologo camp, a transit camp for returnees on the outskirts of Juba, the ICRC has erected a hospital tent for some forty patients to help UNICEF set up an isolation area. In addition, the ICRC provided a tent in Al Sabbah Hospital where MSF-Spain has opened a centre for adults and children.

The long years of war in South Sudan have damaged or destroyed water and sewage infrastructure in Juba town as well as at the JTH. The ICRC has been present throughout the former conflict in South Sudan and has being providing wide-ranging support to the JTH for the last seventeen years. The ICRC has recently reinforced its assistance to the JTH as the hospital strived to cope with a significant increase in patients. This rise in demand for medical treatment is primarily due to the increase of Juba's population since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005 as well as a general improvement in the restrictions of movement that had been a consequence of the recent conflict in the region.

 For further information please contact:  

 National and International Media - Andrea Koenig, tel. +249 9 121 3 77 64/+249 1 83 47 64 64/65/66  

 All Arabic-language media - Adil Sherif, tel. +249 9 121 614 93/+249 1 83 47 64 64/65/66  

 Or visit our website: www.icrc.org