Geneva, Switzerland - Some 140,000 people living in temporary camps in South Sudan, which has been wracked by internecine fighting since last December, are to be vaccinated against cholera by the World Health Organisation (WHO), working with the South Sudan Government and partners, the global health agency said in a statement issued here this weekend.
It said the vaccines come from an emergency stockpile managed by WHO, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and UNICEF.
It is the first time the stockpile, created in 2013 by WHO, is being activated.
Although currently there is not a cholera outbreak, people displaced by the recent conflict and living in the camps are at risk due to poor sanitary conditions and overcrowding, WHO said.
The vaccination exercise started on Saturday with 94,000 people being vaccinated in the Minkaman camp, Awerial County, and will be followed by vaccination campaigns in camps based in Juba, covering an additional 43,000 people.
Two doses of vaccine are required for an individual to be protected.
PANA on Sunday quoted the WHO as saying that since the outset of violence in South Sudan 15 Dec. 2013, the humanitarian needs have quickly been growing with hundreds of thousands of people displaced.
As a result of this population displacement, WHO warned of a looming risk of disease outbreaks especially for water borne diseases.
“The poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in the camps, coupled with a shortage of health workers\healthcare providers, poses health risks to thousands of displaced persons in the UN camp bases,” said Dr Abdi Aden Mohammed, the WHO Country Representative in South Sudan.