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200+ people infected with ‘watery diarrhoea’ in Central Darfur’s Nierteti

February 19 - 2018 NIERTETI
An improvised cholera ward in White Nile state, August 2017  (AP)
An improvised cholera ward in White Nile state, August 2017 (AP)

The number of ‘acute watery diarrhoea’ cases, suspected to be cholera, is rapidly increasing in Central Darfur. At least 200 people are reportedly infected in the eatsern part of the locality.

The isolation ward of the Nierteti Hospital in Central Darfur received 61 new cases of ‘acute watery diarrhoea’ on Saturday and Sunday.

A paramedic told Radio Dabanga from Nierteti that although no samples have been taken to determine the nature of the disease, the symptoms are similar to those of cholera.

The isolation ward received three patients from villages in the eastern part of the locality on Saturday, while 58 patients were brought in on Sunday. “This brings the total number of people being treated in the ward to 93,” he said.

The source reported that 119 patients are currently being treated in makeshift isolation centres in the villages of Kuweila and Mara. “The infected are lying on the ground in cottages. The shortage of intravenous solutions and medicines only worsens the situation.”

He further reported dozens of new ‘watery diarrhoea’ cases in 20 villages in Nierteti locality, “mostly among the elderly”.

The activist appealed to humanitarian organisations and the federal and state Ministries of Health “to expedite the provision of medicines and intravenous solutions to contain the disease in Central Darfur”.

On February 11, a medical team formed by the Central Darfur Health Ministry departed from Nierteti to visit the affected villages. Yet military forces stationed at Kutrum, east of Nierteti, denied the team access to the villages and forced them to return to Nierteti.

A source stated that the disease re-appeared in the area in early February. “It has spread among dozens of villages with about 12,000 inhabitants,” he said. Since then, at least eleven people died of the disease in the area.

Cholera epidemic’

(OCHA bulletin, Jan. 1-14, 2018)

In spite of numerous independent confirmations (conducted according to WHO standards) that the disease which broke out in Blue Nile State in August 2016 was cholera, the Sudanese authorities and several international organisations still call it ‘Acute Watery Diarrhoea’.

The infectious disease spread to other eastern Sudan states, and later to northern and central Sudan. After it fully hit Khartoum in May last year, it spread to the western part of the country.

According to the WHO and the Sudanese Ministry of Health in mid-October 2017, the total number of reported cases across 18 states of Sudan reached more than 35,000 people – including 800 related deaths since the outbreak of the disease.

Doctors of Sudan’s National Epidemiological Corporation reported in early July that year however, that nearly 24,000 Sudanese had been infected and 940 cholera patients died.

End September the epidemic seemed to subside. At that time the Nierteti Hospital was treating about ten cases of cholera – most of them came from the camps for displaced people in the neighbourhood.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in its humanitarian bulletin in January that despite the low level of new cases, a slight increase in patients was reported in eastern Sudan during the last week of 2017 and the first week of this year.

Follow #CholeraInSudan#الكوليرا_السودان for ongoing coverage by Radio Dabanga

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