Cholera spreads amid Sudan govt. denial
Cholera continues to spread in Sudan, with more fatalities and infections reported across White Nile state, North Kordofan and Sennar. The federal authorities are beginning to respond, however Khartoum continues to refer to the outbreak as ‘acute watery diarrhoea’.
The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that Sudan’s First Vice-President and National Prime Minister, Lt. Gen. Bakri Hassan Salih, has given a directive to provide “all necessary means for containing the watery diarrhoea cases in the White Nile state through urgent and effective interventions”.
Salih met with Minister of State for Health, Dr Ferdows Abdelrahman at the Republican Palace on Wednesday to discuss health situations in the country and in the White Nile in particular and efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health in this connection.
Dr Abdelrahman affirmed in press statements a decrease of cases in many localities of the State due to efforts of Federal State Health Ministries and partners.
She appreciated support provided by the Governor of White Nile State to health teams working for combating the disease.
However, these official statements are widely contradicted by reports reaching Radio Dabanga from the areas affected by the disease, which repeated tests according to WHO standards show to be cholera. There have been calls to declare a State of Emergency.
Video: Radio Dabanga correspondent shows the conditions at Wad El Zaki hospital in White Nile state. The Narator explains (in Arabic) that the hospital is overcrowded, and that patients must lie out in the open. Wad El Zaki lies on the banks of the White Nile, just 120 kilometres downstream from the national capital of Khartoum.
The Governor of the White Nile, Abdelhameed Kasha, says 53 people have died in the state. In a statement to the Council of States in Khartoum on Tuesday, Kasha said 2,755 people and 129 villages have been infected in the ‘watery diarrhoea’ epidemic.
The Sudanese Doctors’ Central Committee announced the death of 40 people and infection of more than 1,800 people with ‘acute watery diarrhoea’ in the White Nile in the recent weeks. In a statement on Wednesday the committee confirmed the spread of the epidemic to the outskirts of Khartoum and El Gezira states amid deterioration in the health conditions, government secrecy in dealing with the disease and neglecting the known health procedures.
The Committee announced spread of the disease in Asalaya, El Duweim, Kosti, Rabak, El Giteina, El Gezira Aba, El Jebelein and Tendelti in White Nile state. It called on the State and Federal Ministry of Health to officially acknowledge the existence of a health disaster in the White Nile State and take health isolation measures.
On Tuesday the Governor of the White Nile said that he cannot announce a State of Emergency because that is not his mandate which must be done by the World Health Organisation. Governor Kasha said also that currently, White Nile state hosts 122,000 South Sudanese refugees in eight camps and 50,000 others in various areas in the state.
Journalists reported to Radio Dabanga that the medical isolation centre at Kosti Ophthalmology Hospital received 26 new cholera cases yesterday.
Tahir Ishag El Doma told Radio Dabanga from Kosti on Friday that the medical isolation centre of Block 54 in the town received 56 new cases the day before.
He explained that the high rate of infection has prompted the authorities to open a new medical isolation centre at the Abushareef district in the town where the centre received 18 new infection cases yesterday.
He explained that the government began to deal with the disease by providing intravenous solutions and mobilising the medical staff.
El Gezira Aba
The head of civil society organisations, Abdelrahman El Siddig, reported the death of five people of cholera in villages in El Gezira Aba on Tuesday and Wednesday.
He told Radio Dabanga that on Wednesday the number of hospitalised rose to 40. There is a shortage of medical staff and Asalaya hospital is overcrowded with patients.
He said police have been deployed to the areas where pumps are drawing water from the Nile to prevent people from using it. El Siddig called on the authorities to close the factories that dispose of their waste in the Nile.
El Obeid hospital in North Kordofan has received 55 cases of acute watery diarrhoea during the week.
Dr Amer Adam, the deputy family medicine specialist and head of the hospital’s doctors committee told Radio Dabanga that he attributed the outbreak of the disease to the contamination of drinking water and vegetables.
Dr Adam called for banning the vegetables coming from White Nile state.
He pointed out to the transmission of infection to the city from the White Nile state.
He called on the authorities to chlorinate drinking water, provide intravenous solutions, prepare the newly opened isolation centre and raise awareness of people of the dangers of the spread of the disease.
Yesterday workers in the health sector told Radio Dabanga that cholera is increasing in the areas of Mazmum and Abuareef in Sennar state.
A worker in the health sector said that Mazmum area recorded two new cases of the disease at a time Abuareef health centre was overcrowded with patients yesterday.
He confirmed that the total number of deaths from cholera at Abuareef area has amounted to six cases since the beginning of May.
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