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Juba Town Could Be Hideout For Cholera

By Deng Kiir Akok

Opposite Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) building in Juba town is an incomplete five floors tower rarely called Amara-Pagan and falls south of Al-atiek Mosque. In front of it, are three Toptank containers turned into storing wastes or leftovers from restaurants operating in this Amara. These tanks are put on a bare ground and arranged in line. The building is divided into parts where the first and second floors are for tea and shisha makers. Third and fourth floors fall under restaurants.

Shortly after government and opposition forces fought in early July this year while approaching South Sudan Independence Day celebrations. The government had said earlier that it was not ready to celebrate the 5th Independence Day Anniversary this year but instead will observe the day due to economic hardship present in the country.

As some of the things happen in nature and not according  human plans, there was a suspected cholera outbreak of Juba and some parts of the country according to South Sudan ministry of health. The ministry including its partners (MSF, WHO and other health based organizations) had taken samples of patients for study to establish the suspected cholera outbreak.

After samples were tested positive for Vibrio Cholera Ivana, the ministry confirmed and declared the outbreak of cholera across the nation. The health ministry outlined measures suitable for confronting the disease. And those measures were for South Sudanese citizens to stick to good hygiene and sanitation at their respective places amongst other things.

However, this is not the case in Amara-Pagan. The tanks I mentioned earlier are full of leftovers, exhausted water, fish scales and all these decomposed and send out smelling which covers a larger part of Juba town leave alone GPOC building and  Juba bus station. These tanks have leaks in them and the fact they have leaks made them unfit to store liquid and blah blah. Some people including me don't pass near that smelly place.

What I am not sure being that how people eat from those restaurants operating in there when the place is not clean? You can still smell this place even if you are at Jubek Square, imagine how strong this smelling can travel. I didn't pass there for at least three months but I paid a visit only on July 18, 2016 after the epidemic was declared by the ministry of health to check on it whether it was still like before.

Although I resisted the smelling that day but it later in the few minutes forced me to desert the place. My intention was to see how this place could be a potential environment for the disease. I believe if those measures recommended by the ministry are taken seriously elsewhere in the capital Juba and in the States still the disease will consider this place to be its hideout for years or life.

I was questioning myself all these times for why not those concern authorities or be public health officers are reluctant to oversee their duties.  Why do they keep silent on this issue and don't want to talk to these restaurants' owners that used to dump wastes in front of the building and the way leading to GPOC building.

Where's that motto that says ' keep Juba clean? ' Or are they not supporting the campaign for keeping our city clean? If they are so, then the authorities concern should tell them to quit this place and go to where sanitation is not important.  If there a place which sanitation is not important to this earth. I think such a place doesn't exist at all and if so, let them learn how to keep good hygiene at the surrounding areas.

I was of suggestion that why shouldn't those customers that used to eat from there to refuse their food one day and tell them they will not come to eat there until the place is kept clean. But I know it well, they will not do that unless I was them that suggestion would have happened.

I am afraid that if a good research is carried out across Juba and on those who used to eat from this Amara in particular. The findings may show that few individuals out of these customers would already have suffered this cholera outbreak since these restaurants lack knowledge of sanitation.

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