Combatting Yellow Fever Outbreak in South Sudan: Urgent Push Towards Immunization

22 April 2024

In response to a Yellow Fever outbreak in December 2023, the Ministry of Health, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and other partners, conducted a yellow fever vaccination campaign in Western Equatoria State. The campaign targeted Yambio, Nzara, Ibba, Ezzo, and Tambura Counties, reaching 465 798 persons with the lifesaving vaccine.

The outbreak, confirmed on 24 December 2023, marked the region’s second major outbreak in over three years, following a previous episode in the neighboring county of Kajo Keji in 2020. The campaign aimed to vaccinate approximately 608 268 individuals aged nine months to 65 years. Despite logistical challenges and the complexities of operating in a conflict-affected area, the initiative achieved a 77% coverage rate, highlighting the difficulties in reaching all targeted individuals.

The International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Provision released 610 000 doses of the Yellow Fever vaccine, enabling the Ministry of Health and its partners to launch the vaccination campaign. The campaign was bolstered by substantial financial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which provided the necessary funding to facilitate the logistics and distribution of vaccines.

Dr Humphrey Karamagi, the WHO Representative for South Sudan, reflected on the campaign’s outcomes and the continuous challenges: “Achieving 77% coverage in such a challenging environment is commendable, yet it also underscores the need for sustained efforts to reach all at-risk populations. Our team’s commitment to conducting thorough epidemiological investigations and engaging with communities was instrumental in mitigating the outbreak’s impact”.

“This campaign has laid a strong foundation, but to ensure comprehensive protection against future outbreaks, it is imperative to include the Yellow Fever vaccine in South Sudan’s National Immunization Schedule,” said Dr Karamagi, stressing the importance of further integrating Yellow Fever vaccinations into the national framework”.

Facts to know about Yellow Fever\

  • Yellow fever is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes that bite mostly during the day.\
  • As of 2023, 34 countries in Africa and 13 countries in Central and South America are either endemic for or have regions that are endemic for, yellow fever.\
  • Yellow fever is prevented by a vaccine, which is safe and affordable. A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to grant life-long protection.\
  • A modelling study based on African data sources estimated the burden of yellow fever during 2013 was 84 000–170 000 severe cases and 29 000–60 000 deaths.

Technical Contacts:

Dr Aggrey Bategereza, Email:

Dr Sylvester Maleghemi, Email:

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

Mr Atem John Ajang

Communication Officer
Mobile: +211 921736375

Ms Jemila M. Ebrahim

Communications Officer
Mobile: +211 921 647 859

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