In South Sudan, International Medical Corps has worked to treat victims of and run prevention programs for a variety of Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Spread by flies, African Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis) is a parasitic disease that, if left untreated, wreaks havoc on the central immune system, causing confusion, poor coordination, and sensory disturbance. We successfully screened over 90-percent of Kajo Keji’s native residents and 100-percent of its returnees for the potentially fatal disease.
International Medical Corps also helped combat River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) in Tambura and Yambio counties by establishing surveillance, treatment and control programs. We were able to dramatically reduce the incidence of the disease which is transmitted through repeated bites by blackflies. The disease is called River Blindness because the blackfly that transmits the infection lives and breeds near fast-flowing streams and rivers and the infection can result in blindness. In addition to visual impairment or blindness, onchocerciasis causes skin disease, including nodules under the skin or debilitating itching.
International Medical Corps also implemented a prevention and treatment program for Kala-azar disease (Visceral Leishmaniasis), a parasitic infection endemic to Waat and Dirror counties that is deadly when untreated. Spread by the bite of an infected sandfly, the disease is marked by irregular bouts of fever, severe weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver, and anemia.
Guinea worm (Dracunculiasis), a parasitic illness caused by drinking contaminated water, results in skin lesions and bacterial infections. The disease can also cause enormous pain and suffering and has exacerbated the socioeconomic hardships faced by residents in South Sudan. International Medical Corps' eradication efforts have helped lessen the terrible burdens inflicted by this devastating disease. To help ensure the sustainability of our health services, we handed over management of our successful Guinea worm and River Blindness eradication programs to the local county health department in Western Equatoria. The programs target roughly 145,000 residents and internally displaced persons residing in Western Equatoria’s Ezo, Tambura, and Yambio Counties.