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October 2011 Newsletter page 1


THE YEAR WHEN THE NEW REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN WAS BORN:
THE YEAR OF KALA AZAR!

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Photo Old Fangak
Look at all of these syringes!
Enough for one out of six daily
kala azar treatment groups.

During the late 1980’s, a devastating epidemic of kala azar ravished Nuerland, in what was then Western Upper Nile. More than 50% of the population died during this epidemic. Isolated as they were, the rest of the world barely noticed. That epidemic introduced Jill Seaman and Sjoukje De Wit to South Sudan.

In 2010, kala azar returned to South Sudan with a vengeance. More Sudanese were stricken with kala azar this year than at any time in the past two decades. Half of the patients treated for kala azar in South Sudan this year were treated by the Sudan Medical Relief Project in Old Fangak.

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Photo Old Fangak

Sick people kept pouring in. October 2010 saw 900 patients admitted in just one month. Logistics were unbelievable. Each patient requires daily injections for a month; some need 2 injections daily. That means buying and transporting 30,000 syringes and needles into a roadless area, without infrastructure, across international boundaries EVERY MONTH! Not to mention diagnosing, treating, feeding, sheltering, counseling, and transfusing blood. 70% of the patients are malnourished, making food supplements essential if medicines are to be effective.

Kala azar weakens immune systems, so we must be constantly vigilant to deal quickly with opportunistic infections that take advantage of increased vulnerability.

Click to enlarge
Photo Old Fangak
This patient needs "Plumpy Nut" -
high nutrition, ready-to-eat food.
It’s almost magic!
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Click to enlarge
Photo Old Fangak
Each of six kala azar treatment groups gather around its assigned tree. Each patient waiting to be called for daily injection.
Click to enlarge
Photo Old Fangak
"The Plumpy Nut Brigade:" Children are carrying essential nutritional supplements from the river boat to the clinic.
Click to enlarge
Photo Old Fangak
Click to enlarge
Photo Old Fangak

Ready-to-eat, high nutrition food has revolutionized the treatment of severe malnutrition. Moms don’t need to leave their suffering child in search of firewood. They don’t need to cook 6 times a day. Just open a package of Plumpy Nut. It’s 500 calories per sachet with no refrigeration needed.

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