Taking preventative action to ward off disease outbreak in South Sudan

Publié: 14 janvier 2014 17:20 CET

By Susan Onyango, IFRC

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced in South Sudan following the violence that broke out one month ago. Of these, tens of thousands have fled to neighbouring countries including Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.

The situation remains unpredictable with people having little access to basic commodities such as food, clean water and shelter. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC),  in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross, is supporting the South Sudan Red Cross Society to conduct health and hygiene promotion, as well as to ensure that water points in Awerial and Juba are properly used.

Training in water point management, hygiene promotion and environmental management has been provided for 22 people, including eight volunteers from the South Sudan Red Cross, which included proper disposal of waste. Immediately after the training, participants were deployed to various water points at a camp for displaced people. So far, four water points are functional, with others still under construction.

“The risk of disease is particularly high in situations where water and sanitation facilities are insufficient,” said John Lobor, Deputy Secretary General of the South Sudan Red Cross. “Our volunteers will continuously monitor and assess the health, water, sanitation and hygiene situation, giving special attention to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, young children and the elderly.”

The IFRC has allocated 286,695 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to enable the South Sudan Red Cross to support an estimated 40,000 people in Awerial and Juba who have been displaced following the violence. In addition, it has deployed a water and sanitation specialist to the country.

“We have not received any reports of a disease outbreak yet, so the sooner we can begin preventative action, the better chance we have of avoiding one,” said Lobor. “To help prevent the spread of disease and improve living conditions for those forced from their homes, IFRC is sending 2,000 family kits containing kitchen sets, tarpaulins, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, soap and water purification solution to South Sudan.”