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 Where We Work - Eastern Equatoria State (EES)

 

 

 


 

Eastern Equatoria State Cholera Response

 

Torit - The Cholera outbreak in 2014 was quite a disturbing experience for the health partners, national, and state governments of the new nation. 

 

On 15th May, 2014, the national Health Ministry officially declared its outbreak at a time the country was still grappling with other humanitarian crises such as the congestions at the Protection of Civilian sites following the outbreak of the internal armed conflict in the country late in 2013.

 

The disease quickly spread from Juba, Gudele1, to Kajo-Keji and Yei counties of Central Equatoria State (CES). It soon spread to Bor in Jonglei state, Mundri East, Manyo County of Upper Nile State and then to Torit, Lopa/Lafon, Magwi, Kapoeta North of EES.

 

A cholera patient battling with cholera at HLSS Owiny Kibul CTC

Above: A Cholera patient under intensive care at HLSS' Owinykibul Army Barack Cholera Treatment Centre, Eastern Equatoria State in 2014.

By the end of May 2014, EES became a cholera hotspot with majority of infection in Torit and Magwi Counties (Owiny Kibul). Lopa/Lafon, Kapoeta North, Ikwoto and Budi too had quite significant figures reported.

 

As the disease claimed dozens of lives in Torit alone, at community level and health facilities, a more protracted and vigorous intervention became inevitable.

 

HLSS, being disaster prepared, quickly intervened upon the invitation of the EES Health Ministry and UNICEF. By July, HLSS mobilised the required technical personnel of 25 clinical officers, nurses and a medical doctor and instantly deployed them to prevent and control the spread of the disease in the state. HLSS rapidly set up 17 Oral Rehydration Points (ORPs), one Cholera Treatment Unit and another Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC) in the hotspots for early case detection, effective management and control of the spread of the disease through community awareness and hygiene promotion at grassroots levels.

 

A total of 1,495 suspected cholera cases were treated at these facilities; 51.5% of the cases were females and 48.5% were males. Of the total cases, 172 (11.5%) were severe which had to be referred to CTUs and CTC for appropriate management. To date, HLSS with support from UNICEF continues to respond to the sporadic cases of cholera in Ikwoto and Lafon/Lopa Counties.

 

Nimule/Melijo Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM)

 

To provide a coordinated response to immediate humanitarian needs in displacement sites, to save lives and alleviate acute suffering by reaching the population in need in a timely and efficient manner; thus maximizing the impact of resources and avoiding duplication, HLSS in partnership with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) and later UNHCR, started and still continues with the camp coordination and camp management of Melijo and Nimule IDPs camps.

 

The Nimule-Melijo road being cleared under HLSS supervision and monitoring2

Above: The Nimule-Melijo road being cleared under HLSS' supervision and monitoring last year.

This involves coordination and monitoring of set targets aimed at ensuring effective delivery of sector by sector services to the displacement sites so as to improve basic humanitarian living conditions of the IDPs and the host communities as well as building a foundation for durable solutions. 

 

The CCCM cluster, coordinated by HLSS, facilitates effective monitoring of services to IDPs in displacement sites, provision of durable solutions whenever possible, IDP registration, profiling displacement sites to facilitate site management and the delivery of immediate humanitarian services and emergency response to IDPs. Humanitarian partners, community leaders and other stakeholders involved in the humanitarian response have improved knowledge of camp management, concepts and practices.At least 48 partners’ coordination meetings were conducted from the Month of March to December 2014.

 

As the managers of the camp, HLSS ably identified the most basic needs of the IDPs which among others included Health, Education, Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) and the bad condition of Nimule-Melijo road. The road was cleared and a biometric IDP registration which gives a verified IDP population of 5,414 individuals was successfully conducted.

 

FAO, HLSS Supplementary Nutrition Project

 

Health Link South Sudan (HLSS) in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) with support from UKaid in March, launched yet another project dubbed as ‘linking producers to the people for proper nutrition’ for the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Melijo and the Baptist church in Nimule.

 

The project aims at increasing access to food, encouraging local food production and consumption which in-turn boost the nutritional status of the IDPs and host community.

 

The beneficiaries of the project get vouchers from field assistants and use them to buy fish, vegetables and milk on three market days, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, where each household gets food worth SSP99 per market day for three months from March.

 

The fish venders and the Melijo IDPs transacting their Monday business with their vouchers2

Above: The fish venders and the Melijo IDPs transacting their business with vouchers.
Also, under this project, seeds, farming tools and fishing gears have been distributed to at least 200 households and a total of 16 community animal health workers have been trained to vaccinate animals in the area in order to improve animal products such as milk and meat. As of the last week of March, 16,000 cattle out of the targeted 100,000 in Eastern Equatoria State have been vaccinated in Melijo and surrounding areas.

 

The World Food Programme (WFP) has been giving the IDPs mainly protein and carbohydrates. The new voucher scheme now provides them with other food values such as vitamins and minerals for proper growth especially for the children.

 

The IDPs in this area are mainly from Jonglei and have allegedly lost all their belongings including cattle to the conflict which started on the 15 December 2013. More than two million people across the country according to relief agencies have been displaced by the conflict with Melijo and Baptist Church camps hosting 5,414 of them.

 

Protection/Gender Based Violence (GBV) Programme

 

Girl-child compensation, child and forced marriages, rape and domestic violence are the commonest forms of GBV across the new nation. In EES, the issue of girl-child compensation stands out. It is not only a challenge to the county leadership but also the custodians of the people’s culture, the chiefs. Girl child compensation is a common practice among the Lotuho community.

 

In consultation with community and its leaders such as chiefs, Health Link South Sudan (HLSS), with support from the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) has its Protection (GBV) programme on-going in Eastern Equatoria State.  At the start of the programme, a high level delegation of HLSS paid courtesy calls to state and county officials which was followed by focused group discussions (FGDs), radio talk-shows, dramas, community outreaches, radio spots in Lotuho and English aired on Radio Emmanuel and EE State radio, supporting and marking the 16 days of activism against GBV consequently followed.

 

The radio talk-shows and radio spots respectively targeted the communities of Torit, Ikwoto, Lopa/Lafon and Magwi counties. During the 16 days of activism last year, HLSS engaged in community outreach campaigns; employing dramas, music and dance as well as radio spots to communicate the key messages of GBV. At least 600 people were reached through the community outreach approach while over 100,000 people are estimated to have been reached through the radio and other programmes with key GBV messages.

 

Training

 

Training is an integral part of the protection/GBV programme to increase the knowledge on the programme and mobilize the community through the frontline responders to survivours of the vice. With the technical guidance of the state government (ministry of Gender) EES, HLSS embarked on a double-edged training of the frontline responders such as nurses, police, prison officials, teachers, army officials, women and youth groups as well as state gender ministry officials and selected youth and school going children.

 

The first group was trained intensively on all forms of GBV while the youngsters were trained on life skills,  keeping safe, knowing the forms of GBV and their role to prevent it as well as keeping busy and making plans for self-reliance through engaging in productive activities like light businesses that don’t interfere with their studies.   

 

Frontline responders during the training in Torit

Above: Chiefs, health workers and other stakeholders during the GBV training in Torit.

Over 300 people in Torit alone have been trained on GBV prevention, response and life-skills. The young-trainees then established community social action groups and are now leading and advocating the use of legal mechanisms to ensure “Zero tolerance to GBV.

 

Another Gender Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS) training followed in Juba where participants got skills on how to collect, store, analyse and share information in a safe and ethical manner that protects both survivour and service providers. HLSS is also rapidly scaling up access to life saving emergency medical services such as providing Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), Emergency contraception, Hepatitis B and Tetanus vaccinations as well as collecting information for early warning and rapid responses. The Organisation also provides access to psychosocial support, legal and rehabilitation services to survivuors such as women, boys, girls and men.

 

To bolster the key messages, HLSS made a series of information, education and communication (IEC) materials such as stickers, banners, posters and t-shirts, portraying the dangers of domestic violence and girl-child compensation. T-shirts with powerful inscription such as “Real Men Don’t Rape”and “Sell A Cow Not A Girl; Let’s Stop Child Compensation,”have been printed and distributed.