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Cancer on the rise among Sudanese children

July 29 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Raw sewage flowing to the White Nile in Khartoum (UNEP Photo)
Raw sewage flowing to the White Nile in Khartoum (UNEP Photo)

The number of cancer cases among children is steadily increasing, says the Sudanese Children’s Cancer Hospital in Khartoum.

In a statement last week, specialists at the hospital pointed to statistics of the Child Cancer Department of the main hospital of Wad Madani, capital of El Gezira.

The department received 139 new cases in 2017, while the number of children visiting the hospital for checks reached 2,649 last year. This year however, the Wad Madani Hospital has been recording between 12 and 17 new cases each month.

Bread, drinking water polluted

In September 2016, the Children’s Cancer Hospital reported that the number of cancer cases among children in the country rose to more than 400,000 that year.

The coordinator-general of the hospital attributed the increase to the use of potassium bromide in bread, and the growing environmental pollution, including contaminated drinking water brought about by industrial waste, expired pesticides and fertilisers, and the lack of an adequate sewage system.

The oncologist described the children cases as “tragic”, because there are no early detection centres in Sudan. “It is hard to treat children suffering from advanced cancer.”

According to a survey of the Sudanese Ministry of Health, conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) between 2009 and 2013, nearly 12,000 cases of cancer were recorded. Breast cancer scored the highest rate, with 6,809 cases, followed by prostate cancer, leukaemia, lymphatic cancer, and rectal cancer.

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