News / Africa

In South Sudan, Some Act Against Cholera, Others Stick to Old Habits

A child is treated for cholera in South Sudan. Malnourishment resulting from the ongoing crisis in the country has left children even more vulnerable to the disease, which has killed 37 people as of June 18, 2014.
A child is treated for cholera in South Sudan. Malnourishment resulting from the ongoing crisis in the country has left children even more vulnerable to the disease, which has killed 37 people as of June 18, 2014.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
Some residents of the South Sudanese capital are heeding the call of health officials and taking extra measures to fight cholera as the number of cases of the diarrheal disease continues to rise.

But others are ignoring messages from health officials and continue as before -- not washing their hands and not treating the water they drink.

Asumpta Talata is one of the people who are listening to health officials' warnings about cholera. She wakes up early every day to buy water from the tanker trucks that ply the streets of Juba, paying 5 South Sudanese pounds for a plastic 100-liter container of water -- enough for her family of six.

Since the cholera outbreak was first declared in mid-May, Asumpta says she has been purifying the water she buys, just to be doubly sure that it is safe.
 
“When I get water from those people who are selling it, I first put aside drinking water in a pot and I mix it with chlorine so that the water can become clean and to avoid diseases like cholera,” she says.
 
Asumpta then pours the purified water into bottles for her two young daughters to take to school.
A nurse at a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment center in Gudele, near Juba, inserts an intravenous drip to a woman infected by the diarrheal disease. The number of cases of cholera has risen steadily since the Health Ministry declared an outbreak
A nurse at a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment center in Gudele, near Juba, inserts an intravenous drip to a woman infected by the diarrheal disease. The number of cases of cholera has risen steadily since the Health Ministry declared an outbreak
Her neighbor, Flora Keji, says she heard about the cholera outbreak on radio and television but did not take the message seriously until a month ago, when her aunt came down with the disease and was rushed to Juba Teaching Hospital.

Since then, Keji, who works in a small barbershop, has  been very careful about her personal hygiene and that of her family. She even washes her hands after touching her clients' hair.

Every evening, before the family sits down to share food from the same big tray, as is the custom in South Sudan, she makes sure that everyone has washed their hands.
 
Boda boda rider James Malish also tells members of his family to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before they eat and after using the toilet. Like Keji, he worries about  many people eating from the same bowl.

"When you eat with someone who doesn’t wash their hands, of course you will be affected because your food is going to get contaminated," he says.
 
Cholera is caused by a bacterium found in contaminated water or food. Large outbreaks are often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or street vended foods, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The outbreak in Juba has already impacted food stalls, many of which have shut down in recent weeks.

Very quickly after the outbreak was declared on May 15, the Ministry of Health developed a cholera response plan and established a Cholera Response Task Force, which coordinates both health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities.

Among other activities, the Task Force coordinates public health education and awareness activities. Its WASH program has been promoting hand washing, proper disposal of solid and liquid waste, and household water chlorination.
Children wash their hands in Juba, South Sudan, during a campaign in October 2013 to promote the habit.
Children wash their hands in Juba, South Sudan, during a campaign in October 2013 to promote the habit.

People like Asumpta, Keji and Malish are heeding the health messages put out by the authorities. But Dr. Lul Riek, director of  the Task Force, says that in spite of the massive information campaign launched by the Health Ministry, some South Sudanese still drink untreated water or fail to wash their hands before meals or after using the toilet.

“When we tell them to wash their hands before you prepare your food or before you eat, some people keep forgetting," he said. "They are in a hurry, they want to just eat, they don’t want to wash their hands. It's a problem."
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) says another problem hampering the fight against the diarrheal illness is that some people in Juba still defecate in the open.
 
Thirty-seven people have died of cholera so far in Juba, and WHO says more than 1,700 cases have been reported, including 50 among internally displaced persons sheltering in a UN camp.
 
The Health Ministry and NGOs have opened six cholera treatment centers in and around Juba to tackle the outbreak, and Riek says Juba residents are being provided with free chlorine tablets by the ministry.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joseph Otingmoi Sanabio from: Torit
June 25, 2014 9:48 AM
Cholera in Torit has become a threat. Because, Torit is more dirtier than Juba as matter of fact. The site in the hospital where people are being admitted of cholera case is worst than defecation area. The munchary the same. I don't exactly know what is the Government doing. I think the Government is not doing enough to prevent its people from such infections. My advise to people (Torit) is that let us clean around our compounds not wait for the Government because, this disease and others kill not only those in the system but also you the poor man/woman down there.

by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
June 20, 2014 11:57 AM
The children not stay abadoned community international impose waterings in state South Sudan amd save the children and peoples poor

by: Bol from: Bor
June 19, 2014 4:13 AM
There has never been cholera cases since 2006 in Juba and much of South Sudan. Does it mean that the old habit of not washing hands just came back to Juba after after the US sponsored failed coup against the South Sudanese people?

These clowns behind the V.O.A and SUDAN TRIBUNE will find themselves rotting in South Sudanese jails if they are lucky or they will their lifeless bodies floating in the Nile river.

Their propaganda had been profiled. Some bunch of low-lives from Africa are letting themselves being used by the criminals behind these news wires pretending to be journalists, and because they are Africans; they are toss in to Africa as pawns by their criminal bosses, but they are warned.

Keep playing your propaganda and you will someday get what you are asking for.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs