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Darfur displaced call on Sudan govt. to declare cholera epidemic

August 13 - 2017 NYALA / EL MAHAS
Médecins Sans Frontières rapidly scales up response to contain cholera outbreak in South Sudan (MSF)
Médecins Sans Frontières rapidly scales up response to contain cholera outbreak in South Sudan (MSF)

Cholera continues to spread in South Darfur and Northern State. The leadership of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association has urged the Sudanese authorities to officially declare a cholera epidemic in the country.

The National Epidemiological Corporation reported in early July that nearly 24,000 Sudanese have been infected and 940 cholera patients have died since the outbreak of the infectious disease in Blue Nile state in August last year.

The Sudanese authorities however, refuse to call the disease by its name, and instead refer to it as “Acute Watery Diarrhoea”. The National Intelligence and Security Service has repeatedly warned medics and the press in the country not to make mention of cholera.

Cholera “seems to be a stigma for the government,” a Sudanese specialist told Radio Dabanga in January. “Yet raising the awareness among communities about preventing cholera is crucial to containing a cholera outbreak.”

The Sudanese Doctors’ Central Committee and volunteer groups are conducting anti-cholera campaigns in the country.

Political procrastination’

Last week, the General Coordination of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association strongly condemned the Sudanese government for not acknowledging the epidemic.

“The Khartoum regime must declare the spread of cholera and allow the World Health Organization to intervene in the towns, villages, and camps for the displaced in Darfur to save the people,” the association’s spokesman, Abdelrazig Yousif Suleiman, told this station on Friday.

He called on “all relevant national and international organisations and political forces not to take this political procrastination serious, take a clear stance towards the regime’s policy, pressure it to acknowledge the epidemic, and allow international organisations to intervene to treat the patients”.

Manawashi

The epidemic reached the area of Manawashi, north of the South Darfur capital of Nyala, last week, where six people died of cholera on Wednesday and Thursday.

A volunteer reported that seven other patients were transferred to the Manawashi Health Centre on Thursday.

Northern State

Three cholera patients died of cholera in the area of El Medegein in El Mahas on Thursday and Friday.

“A woman died in Tenri village at the western bank of the Nile on Thursday. Two other women died in Abri and Saad Nafatni villages on Friday,” a health worker reported.

“Cholera is rapidly spreading in the area. At least 10 school students in Saad Nafatni contracted the disease last week,” he said. “The people are calling for awareness campaigns and urge the authorities to take the epidemic seriously.”

South Sudan

In collaboration with the UN World Health Organization and the South Sudanese Ministry of Health, health teams of International Organization for Migration (IOM) are conducting cholera vaccination campaigns across the country.

IOM said in a statement last week that rapid responses are needed to contain the infectious disease that broke out in the country more than a year ago. Since 18 June 2016, more than 18,000 cholera cases, including 328 deaths have been reported in South Sudan.


Follow #CholeraInSudan#الكوليرا_السودان for ongoing coverage by Radio Dabanga


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