IOM, Partners Continue Vaccination Campaigns in South Sudan, Reach over 144,000 People in March

Juba – In the coming days, IOM will begin the second round of an oral cholera vaccination campaign in Malakal and Wau, South Sudan. The first round in March reached over 60,400 people above one year of age.

Also, in March, IOM led an eight-day reactive measles vaccination campaign in Aweil East, reaching over 83,700 children following an outbreak that began in February. IOM’s health rapid response team worked in close partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the State Ministry of Health, the International Rescue Committee and other health agencies.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can become life threatening if complications, such as pneumonia, arise. The campaign, which involved over 117 teams of five people each, targeted children aged six to 59 months.

“Children are extremely vulnerable to outbreaks of measles and other contagious diseases, particularly in areas such as Aweil East where health conditions are further compromised by severe food insecurity and poor living conditions,” explained Derebe Tadesse, IOM Migration Health Officer. “The measles vaccine will save lives. With just one dose, 85 per cent of children over nine months and 95 per cent of children over twelve months of age are immune.”

Protracted displacement, access constraints and poor health and water and sanitation infrastructure have contributed to yearly cholera outbreaks in South Sudan since the crisis began in 2013; the longest lasted from June 2016 to February 2017, killing 436 people.

As a preventive measure, IOM completed the first round of several two-round oral cholera vaccination campaigns in Malakal and Wau, reaching approximately 24,300 and 36,100 individuals respectively in late March. The second-round campaigns are slated to begin in both locations in the coming days. The campaigns target both internally displaced persons within the Malakal and Wau protection of civilian sites and displaced and host communities in Malakal and Wau towns.

In 2017, IOM completed oral cholera vaccination campaigns in Unity, Warrap and Eastern Equatoria, reaching more than 469,800 people with the vaccine.

As the country endures the fifth year of a humanitarian crisis, an estimated 5.1 million people are in need of emergency health care assistance. IOM teams work across the country, in displacement sites, remote locations and host communities, to provide aid to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict. 

IOM’s health rapid response teams are supported through funding from the USAID Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Government of Japan.

For more information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: