Juba is a capital city of South Sudan with the population of 300,000(2008) most of which lacks access to safe clean drinking water and latrines for safe disposal of human excreta like faeces.
On 23/06/2015, the national ministry of health confirmed cholera outbreak in Juba. During the press release, the national minister for health Dr. Riek Gai said "171 people are affected and 18 people died of cholera" since the outbreak that begun on 01/06/2015.
Last year May 2014, cholera outbreak occurred claiming the lives of more than 600 people according to World Health Organization (WHO). So the outbreak is a yearly kind of scenario in Juba.
WHAT IS CHOLERA?
It is enteric bacterial infection caused by vibrio cholerae and characterized by profuse, painless watery diarrhea and vomiting that result into dehydration and eventually death if immediately actions are not taken. It is transmitted through contaminated water, food and fruits that is to say Faeco-oral route.
WHY JUBA EVERY RAINY SEASON?
This is a question every South Sudanese must ask. I hope most of us if not all might have visited Juba at one point. In juba, water banks are comfortable area for open defecation by residents along the river who do not have latrines. These faeces during rainy season are washed off into water bodies causing water contamination. This water is in turn collected by water tankers and sold to the people. A common citizen in Juba who is not like you and I may not probe to know where the water is brought from and innocently use it for drinking minus boiling or putting water guard in it. This had made it very difficult for the government and its partners like WHO to prevent cholera outbreak.
The solution must be delivered to this problem. I think it will be wise for the government and its partners to make water systems in city where public can access and drink safe clean water. Also public awareness in Juba to end open defecation and near water source should be the top agenda rather than waiting for outbreak every year that normally comes with adverse effects.
We cannot afford to lose people every year of what can be prevented. The public had to be vigilant on this by ensuring hygienic behaviors through proper hand washing after visiting toilet and safe disposal of faeces. Cholera kills and it is infectious.
Together we can push cholera to exile if we adhere to clean environmental conditions.
Peter Garang Ngor.
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