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In collaboration with local health authorities, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has opened a cholera treatment centre (CTC) in Juba in response to an outbreak declared by the South Sudanese Ministry of Health on 23 June.
The 800 square metre facility is located in the neighbourhood of Munuki, Block A, and is designed to be expanded up to a capacity of 150-beds, if necessary.
As of 7 July, 710 cases and 33 deaths have been reported in the South Sudanese capital by local authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Residents who suspect they may be suffering from cholera can receive free, high-quality medical treatment at this facility,” says Paul Critchley, head of mission for MSF in South Sudan.
“This is a modern treatment centre built to high standards in coordination with the Ministry of Health, which leads the Cholera Task Force. This centre is providing an urgently-needed medical service to the community.”
Cholera is a water-borne bacteria which causes profuse diarrhoea, vomiting and rapid dehydration.
It is treated by replacing patients’ fluids and electrolytes, either intravenously or with a rehydration solution which patients are able to drink.
Cholera treatment offered at the MSF CTC significantly reduces patients’ risk of dying from the disease.
“The symptoms of cholera are intense diarrhoea and vomiting,” says MSF emergency medical coordinator Stephanie Mayronne.
“People in the community experiencing these symptoms are urged to seek treatment for possible cholera as soon as possible once symptoms occur.”
MSF has taken extensive measures to provide a high level of medical care to patients. Modern CTCs not only provide quality medical care, they also protect the health and safety of the local communities in which they are built. MSF has employed over 130 South Sudanese staff in the construction and operation of the CTC.
MSF is also supporting the state Ministry of Health response to suspected cholera cases in Bor State Hospital, in Jonglei State, where 59 cholera cases and one death have been reported.
In Bor, MSF teams are providing technical capacity, curative treatment and logistical support to the hospital’s cholera treatment unit.
In a separate outbreak of cholera in South Sudan last year, MSF treated over 3,300 patients – more than 50 percent of all confirmed cases in the country that year. As a leading international medical organisation, MSF has extensive experience responding to cholera outbreaks, treating over 45,000 cholera patients globally in 2014.
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