This is the second in our series of Water Wednesday blogs, written by students at the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.
South Sudan is the world’s newest country, gaining independence from greater Sudan on July 9, 2011. However, this fledgling country faces many challenges, including battling epidemic diseases. Unfortunately, due to lack of clean water and thereby proper sanitation, there have been several cholera outbreaks in South Sudan. As of July 31, 2015, there were 1,396 cholera cases reported in Juba and Bor Counties in the state of Central Equatoria. In Juba County alone, 1,280 cases of cholera, including 41 deaths, occurred. In Bor County, there were 116 cholera cases including one death. South Sudan has 10 states and at least 78 counties. The above results are reported from two counties and one state alone. Therefore, this cholera outbreak is urgent and action is needed to try to prevent it from happening again.
These cholera outbreaks could have been prevented had South Sudan had adequate access to clean water, which would have improved the overall hygiene of the South Sudanese. Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae infecting the intestine. People become infected with cholera by consuming food or water that is polluted with feces or vomit of someone harboring the infection. This leads to severe diarrhea and vomiting, which expels significant amounts of fluid from the body.
Water for South Sudan (WFSS) operates in the WASH sector, which stands for water, sanitation, and hygiene. WASH aims to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, which is to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030. By drilling clean water wells, WFSS helps more South Sudanese have access to clean drinking water and necessary hygiene, which can help prevent cholera outbreaks. WFSS’s role in bringing clean water to South Sudan is critical in increasing overall health and reducing deaths in the South Sudanese population.
However, only 55 percent of South Sudanese have access to clean drinking water, and about 30-60 liters of water per cholera patient per day is needed for his/her cleaning, bathing, clothes’ washing, and drinking. Ninety-seven percent of water in South Sudan is currently used for agriculture, which significantly limits the South Sudanese’s ability to obtain sufficient hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases like cholera.
As a result, organizations like Water for South Sudan need your support. If you would like to learn more about how to donate, please visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/waterforsouthsudan.