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Five die of ‘watery diarrhoea’ in West Kordofan

July 23 - 2018 ABU ZABAD
Sudan's Health Minister, Bahar Abugarda, has his shoes desinfected after his visit to a refugee camp in East Darfur, July 2017 (SUNA)
Sudan's Health Minister, Bahar Abugarda, has his shoes desinfected after his visit to a refugee camp in East Darfur, July 2017 (SUNA)

Five people died and six others were reportedly infected with watery diarrhoea in West Kordofan this month.

A medical volunteer reported that the first case was recorded in the area of El Ahmar, east of Abu Zabad, on July 9.

“Since then, the disease spread, and infected 11 people as far as we know,” he said. “Fatima El Haj, Darelsalam Adam, Ahmed Hamid, Mohamed Abdo, and Mohamed Mudawi died of it.”

The West Kordofan health authorities attributed the infections to the contamination of drinking water in the area.

The volunteer described the health situation in the area as “dangerous, and explained that the infected cases are now treated at home. “We are suffering from a terrible deterioration of the environment, while there is no single health facility nearby to isolate the infected cases,” he said, and urged the health authorities in the state to establish isolation centres for the patients and find a solution to the problem of drinking water.

Activists in Abu Zabad locality have begun a campaign to raise awareness among the people in the area about the prevention of the infectious disease.

Earlier this month, activists in Durdaib in eastern Sudan’s Red Sea state reported eight cases of watery diarrhoea, following heavy rainfall in the area. The hospital of Ed Damazin, capital of Blue Nile state, received six cases of watery diarrhoea in June.

Suspected cholera

In May, Sudan’s federal Minister of Health, Bahar Abugarda, declared Sudan free of the watery diarrhoea outbreak that hit various parts of the country during the past two years.

His statement contradicted an earlier announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) which said that there are still patients with the disease being treated in Central Darfur. “The total number of new acute watery diarrhoea cases reported from Central Darfur from February to March is 468, with almost all cases reported from 63 inaccessible villages in western Jebel Marra.”

In spite of numerous independent confirmations (conducted according to WHO standards) that the disease which broke out in Blue Nile state in August 2016 was cholera, the Sudanese authorities and several international organisations persistently refer to it as Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD).

WHO and the Sudanese Ministry of Health reported in mid-October last year that the total number of recorded AWD cases reached more than 35,000 people – including 800 related deaths. Doctors of Sudan’s National Epidemiological Corporation reported in early July 2017 however, that nearly 24,000 Sudanese had been infected and 940 cholera patients died.

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