WHO extends Ebola vaccination to South Sudan

Monday December 10 2018

A health worker wearing protective gear at a facility treating Ebola cases in West Africa. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A health worker wearing protective gear at a facility treating Ebola cases in West Africa. UNHCR fears the epidemic could spread to South Sudan from DR Congo. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOSEPH ODUHA
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) will extend the Ebola vaccination to South Sudan to prevent the spread of the virus from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The South Sudan Health ministry confirmed that the vaccination would target healthcare and frontline workers operating in high risk states in the Equatoria region bordering DRC.

The ministry said about 60 health personnel had already been trained to carry out the Ebola vaccination. Those trained were drawn from Juba, Yei, Yambio and Nimule. However, the date for the vaccination has not yet been confirmed.

To comply

The manager for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) at national Health ministry in Juba, Dr Anthony Laku, urged the targeted health workforce to comply, consent and get vaccinated to protect themselves and mitigate the risk of Ebola infection.

The EPI Technical Officer Universal Immunisation at the WHO country office for South Sudan, Dr Rachel Seruyange, also disclosed that the vaccination of the health and frontline workers at high risk was a safe and cost-effective strategy for preventing the spread of Ebola into South Sudan.

Dr Seruyange reiterated WHO's commitment to ensuring compliance with the standards during the vaccination.

The influx

South Sudan is one of the three countries neighbouring DRC that were at a high risk of possible Ebola virus importation, according to health experts.

The country was on high alert following the reports from UNHCR on the influx of Congolese refugees.

UNHCR warned that the influx could cause the spread of the Ebola if measures were not taken.

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