Since July, almost 3,000 South Sudanese have been affected by cholera in Juba and 38 have died. Cholera is a bacterial disease which is spread through water and food and leads to severe vomiting and diarrhoea.
Lologo is a part of Juba that sits on the Nile. Those who live in Lologo depend on the river to supply water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. This area has become a hotspot for the annual cholera outbreaks which occur during the rainy season as rain washes rubbish and faeces into the river and contaminates the water. The Trumpeter Community Health Volunteers have seen this as a key area to tackle in their commitment to improving health across Juba. Part of their work has involved talking to women at the riverside who are collecting dirty water to use at home (right).
“We station ourselves here at the entrance towards the river and we target people who come to fetch water straight from the river. We discuss with them how to treat the water and how to come up with safe water for drinking.” Esther Igenya – Trumpeter Volunteer.
Other volunteers work in tandem with this by confronting those who dump rubbish along the riverside or by seeking to reduce open-defecation and so prevent contamination.
“The women in Lologo now know that it’s important to treat water fetched from Nile River” reports Tabitha Muthui, AID’s Fundraising and Communications Manager, normally based in South Sudan. She says that reports show there were more cases of cholera amongst those outside Lologo and those who had recently migrated to Lologo, than amongst those who live in Lologo and have benefited from the Trumpeters’ work. This shows, “very well that the women of Lologo are slowly mastering the art of treating water for human consumption.”
Despite the current unrest and insecurity in Juba, the Trumpeters have also been able to visit 1,200 households in October alone (right), teaching families at home about the dangers of using unclean water and how to treat water to make it safe for drinking.
“They are very cooperative and invite Trumpeters into their homes and listen to the teaching from the volunteers. They also report cases to them and ask for health advice” reports Tabitha Muthui.
Praise God for the work of the Trumpeters, intervening in people’s lives to show them how dangerous their current practices are, and for the receptiveness of the community. Through their work, we are reminded of God’s compassion and intervention in our own lives. Pray that more communities in Juba may be impacted by the work of the Trumpeters and that health will improve across the city. Pray for protection for this project, and its staff and volunteers, during the conflict in South Sudan.