Cholera Treatment Unit supported by MSF plays key role in Hammanskraal cholera response

An area of Hammanskraal called Kanana is the epicentre of a Cholera outbreak in South Africa’s Gauteng Province, which has thus far resulted in more than a dozen confirmed deaths from cholera. MSF has played a key role in the response since 26 May, guiding the establishment of a two-bed Cholera Treatment Unit (CTU) in the community of Kanana.

The CTU has seen a total of 112 patients – 50 cases in the first 48 hours of its existence, climbing to 62 cases in the following 48 hours. MSF was asked to guide the establishment of the unit, ensure a safe patient flow system is in place, and provide technical support to the unit’s infection prevention and control department. Twenty-one patients have thus far been referred by the CTU to nearby Jubilee Hospital, which has a total of 50 cholera beds. 

“The CTU is making a difference by giving community members access to immediate care and by taking some of the burden away from the referral facility,” Dr Albert Leone, who is leading MSF’s medical team in the Cholera response.
To prevent the further spread of cholera in the community of Kanana in Hammanskraal, South Africa, MSF donated 1000 hygiene kits.
Bafana Ngwenya

To prevent the further spread of cholera in the community, MSF has donated 1000 hygiene kits comprising ten oral rehydration solution tablets, five soap bars, 120 Aquatabs (enough to chlorinate 40 litres of water a day for a month), one 10-litre bucket with lid and tap for hand washing and one jerrycan with lid for potable water storage.

The composition of the kits is derived from a study MSF conducted with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, which showed that these items can bend the curve of a cholera outbreak when given to patients who are discharged. 


“The distribution of the kits is currently in the hands of other actors, principally it is being done by City of Tshwane health care workers who we trained on how the various constituents should be used, and we have also advised that the families of people who have been admitted with cholera should be prioritised followed by the surrounding households,” said Danish Malik, who is leading the MSF water, sanitation and hygiene team. 

There are 10’000 households in Hammanskraal, and the need for more intensive cholera health promotion is clear. The existence of the CTU is being communicated by loud hailing.   

MSF will continue to monitor the outbreak and provide technical support to the response.