South Sudan reports three new Guinea worm cases in Rumbek North and Rumbek Center

Juba, 23 July 2018 – South Sudan detected three new Guinea worm cases in Rumbek North and Rumbek Center Counties of former Lakes State in 2018.

The three victim’s two female teenagers and 25-year-old man are cattle keepers and are now receiving treatment at Rumbek-Guinea Worm hub.

For the last eighteen months that includes the whole of 2017, South Sudan reported zero human cases of Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease). The achievement was the result of a sustained eradication campaign led by the South Sudan Guinea-worm Eradication Programme (SSGWEP) with support from WHO and partners. 

The SSGWEP was established in 2006 with the aim to achieve the target of zero transmission through community based surveillance system capable of detecting all cases of Guinea worm and effective intervention to break the transmission.

In 2006, South Sudan reported 20 581 cases from 3 320 endemic villages. This decreased to six cases in 2016 with the last human case reported in December 2016.

Since 2006, the former Lakes state has reported a steady decrease in the number of Guinea worm cases detected. In 2006 the state reported 135 out of the total 20 581 Guinea worm cases reported countrywide.  

“Between 2015 and 2017, the State reported 0 cases, however, the State has reported three cases in 2018 and the transmission is being investigated”, says Dr Riek Gai Kok, the Honorable Minister of Health.  The Ministry dispatched teams to carry out community based surveillance in the State, Dr Kok added.

Despite the on-going insecurity and humanitarian crises, the SSGWEP with support from The Carter Center, WHO and UNICEF has focused on strengthening robust surveillance to detect all cases and break the transmission, advocate for access to safe drinking water in endemic villages, raising public awareness of the disease, the cash reward offered for voluntary reporting. 

“The recent setback following detection of three new cases in South Sudan is a new challenge the program is faced with”, says Mr Evans Liyosi, WHO representative a.i. The programme must enhance partnership with other actors including implementing health agencies, the schools, youth groups, the church and mosques as well as other community programs (Polio and NTDs) under the new vision of the Boma Health Initiative (BHI).

WHO is committed in supporting the SSGWEP in strengthening country-wide surveillance for Guinea worm disease including the IDP and Refugee camps, heighten awareness on guinea worm disease and cash reward for reporting Guinea worm cases, advocate for access of safe drinking water to all endemic villages, strengthen cross-border surveillance with the neighboring countries and prepare South Sudan for certification.

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