Since the outbreak of cholera in August last year, 940 Sudanese have died. 23,930 people have been infected all over Sudan, the National Epidemiological Corporation reported on Friday. The Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) deplores the inability of the World Health Organization to investigate the cholera outbreak because the Sudanese government does not acknowledge the disease.
Dr Ali Bashir, the spokesman for the Corporation said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the number of deaths compared to the number of infection cases decreased from six percent to five percent last week.
He attributed the reduction to “the efforts of the many volunteers who set up and joined anti-cholera campaigns, and are cleaning the streets and disseminating information about how to prevent cholera”.
The spokesman reported that the epidemic has definitely spread reached the west of the country. “The areas of El Nahud and Abu Zabad in West Kordofan recorded the highest infection rates last week.”
He said the infection rates are also high in the camps in Darfur. “We fear for the people in the camps, where the environment is not particularly clean, in particularly in the rainy season, where flies are everywhere, and health care very poor.
“On top of this all, the government has refused to delay the opening of the new school year. This is extremely irresponsible behaviour,” he said.
He called on the teachers to allocate the morning queue to educate students about the infectious disease, and inform food vendors near the schools about ways to prepare and keep the food in a hygienic manner.
In September last year, Radio Dabanga received the first reports about people stricken by “watery diarrhoea” in Blue Nile state. Since then the deadly disease spread to other areas. Though medics have confirmed the disease concerns cholera, the Sudanese authorities continue to deny this, and continue to use the term “acute watery diarrhoea”.
Bashir mocked the government for linking the declaration of a cholera epidemic with its national sovereignty, and reiterated his demand to declare the epidemic so as to allow the country to receive support from the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO should consider seeking legal opinion from competent bodies about the responsibility of its Member States, notably Sudan, to conceal the outbreak of deadly epidemics such as cholera in the country.
The Geneva-based Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) also deplores “the inability of the WHO to investigate, declare and inform the international community about the outbreak of the cholera epidemic in Sudan and to invite competent bodies to intervene and support the local efforts to curb the disease”.
WHO should “consider seeking legal opinion from competent bodies about the responsibility of its Member States, notably Sudan, to conceal the outbreak of deadly epidemics such as cholera in the country,” DRDC recommended in a statement on Thursday.
On Thursday evening, two people died of cholera at at the isolation centre of Kabkabiya Hospital in North Darfur.
“18 others are being treated at the centre,” a volunteer told Radio Dabanga. “One of the dead came from the El Salam camp, while the other lived in El Mawashi camp in Kabkabiya.”
In the Kario camp for South Sudanese refugees in East Darfur, three patients died, and two new cases were recorded between Wednesday and Friday.
“This brings the total of people treated at the camp’s isolation centre at 16,” Ibrahim Wael, the sultan of the Dinka in Darfur told this station.
“During the past two days, the situation improved compared to past few weeks,” he added.
The isolation centre of the Sinja Hospital in Sennar received eight new cases of cholera on Thursday.
“Five of the patients come from Sinja. The other three cases are from the areas of Dindir, El Jazayer and Banzaga,” a medical source told Radio Dabanga.
In El Gedaref’s El Faw locality, a number of cholera patients died at the isolation centre at village 10 on Wednesday and Thursday.
“More than 100 people are being treated in the overcrowded centre,” Nasir Rahmatallah reported from the village. “My wife died there on Thursday. One of my children who also had cholera, recovered.”
He said that “cholera is raging in the area for months” and called on the health authorities “to speed up saving the lives of the people in El Faw”.
He praised the efforts of the village youths to improve the sanitation in the area and inform the people about what to do to stop the spread of infectious diseases.
Three people died of cholera at the Wadrawa Hospital in Khartoum North of cholera last week. At the Khartoum Teaching Hospital in the centre of the Sudanese capital another patient died, a medical source told this station on Friday
“The number of cases treated at the Wadrawa hospital reached 73. Seven other patients were transferred to the Khartoum Teaching Hospital,” the source said.
The Elbanjadeed Hospital in the populated El Haj Yousef district in Khartoum North recorded 15 new cases on Wednesday and Thursday. “Most of the cases come from Ed Babikir area.”
In Delling in South Kordofan, four new cholera patients were reported. “The isolation centre of Delling Hospital admitted two new cases of cholera on Thursday and Friday, while the isolation centre at El Nila village east of the town recorded two cases on Friday.”
Parents of school children in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, expressed their concern about the opening of schools on Sunday. “A number of state schools in the city have been used as cholera isolation centres in the previous period,” one of them explained to this station.
The El Naw Centre for Peace Studies held a training workshop for basic and secondary school teachers in Delling locality on Friday.
“The workshop is aimed to provide teachers information about how to deal with cholera cases in the classes,” one of the organisers said. He pointed to the “huge response” by the teachers in the area.
On Thursday, volunteers of the Ganadeel and El Fikra cultural associations held a training workshop about cholera prevention for about 100 people in the East Darfur capital of Ed Daein.
“Under the slogan ‘East Darfur is free from watery diarrhoea’, the associations target the population of all districts of Ed Daein and the nearby camps for the displaced,” a member told Radio Dabanga.