Facing meningitis outbreak, UN and South Sudan announce vaccination campaign in Upper Nile

Photo: GAVI/Olivier Asselin

9 May 2013 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and South Sudan today announced they will carry out a vaccination campaign to address a meningitis outbreak in the Upper Nile state that has killed three people.

The campaign will target 150,000 people out of 220,000 living in the city of Malakal. The first case was reported by health officials on 12 April and the state ministry of health declared the outbreak on 30 April. Eighty-seven people are currently receiving treatment.

“Partners are boosting capacity at the Malakal hospital, including by establishing an isolation ward, and are monitoring neighbouring counties for an eventual further spread of the outbreak,” the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarians Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan said in a report.

WHO medical officer Tesfaye Zewde said the agency is supporting the health ministry with testing and drugs. “WHO has supported the state ministry of health in taking samples to Nairobi for testing,” said Dr. Zewde. “We are also helping in transporting the vaccines.”

A community outreach campaign would also be implemented to increase communities’ awareness of meningitis and help identify new cases as early as possible, OCHA said.


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