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Cholera in Sudan: Appeals to declare State of Emergency

May 22 - 2017 WHITE NILE / SENNAR
The Asalaya Sugar Factory in Sudan's White Nile state (flickr.com)
The Asalaya Sugar Factory in Sudan's White Nile state (flickr.com)

More than ten people died of cholera and at least 39 new cases were recorded in White Nile state last week. An activist urged the declaration of the State of Emergency in order to contain the spread of the disease in White Nile and neighbouring Khartoum and Sennar.

On Sunday, civil society activist Abdelrahman El Siddig told Radio Dabanga from Rabak that representatives of White Nile civil society organisations have carried out field trips to hospitals and medical isolation centres in Asalaya, El Jezira Aba, and Rabak.

“At least ten patients died and 35 new infections were reported in the area of Asalaya last week. Another four new cases were recorded in El Gezira Aba on Saturday,” he said.

According to El Siddig, the continuing spread of the infectious disease in the area of Asalaya is caused by the pollution of water with the wastes of the large Asalaya sugar factory.

State of Emergency

The activist called on the authorities to declare the State of Emergency in order to contain the large spread of the disease in White Nile state and the neighbouring Khartoum and Sennar states.

He also appealed to the World Health Organisation, international and Sudanese health organisations and associations to act urgently to combat the spread of cholera.

Residents of El Salam village in Asalaya have turned the Khalifa Basic School into a field hospital for cholera patients, after two women and a man died on Saturday at the health centre of the Asalaya Sugar Factory.

“The factory management closed the door for new cholera patients on Saturday for fear that the disease may spread among the factory workers,” an activist told this station from the village.

Sennar

The number of people infected with cholera in neighbouring Sennar state is increasing again since early May. Six new cholera cases were recorded in the area of El Mazmum on Friday and Saturday. Last week, three cholera patients died in the Abuareef health centre last, and two in El Dali.

‘Watery diarrhoea’

Though Sudanese medics have confirmed that the disease definitely concerns cholera, federal health authorities continue to deny its presence, and have instructed all medics and health workers to speak about watery diarrhoea instead.

Cholera “seems to be a stigma for the government,” a UK-based Sudanese specialist told Radio Dabanga in January. He said he fears that the current situation will turn into a long-lasting outbreak.

Medical sources speak about thousands of people who are infected with cholera in the country. The death toll has climbed into the hundreds.  


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