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‘Hundreds’ suffer from diarrhoea in Sudan’s Blue Nile

September 15 - 2016 BLUE NILE STATE
A medical assistant examines a child in Sudan (Albert González Farran / Unamid)
A medical assistant examines a child in Sudan (Albert González Farran / Unamid)

Hundreds in the Blue Nile state are reported to have died or are infected with water-borne diarrhoea, feared to be caused by Cholera.

There were conflicting reports on exact numbers but Blue Nile state Health Minister, Abdelrahman Bilal reported the death of 15 people and of 180 others who are infected. He said that the cases were concentrated in the communities of El Roseires and El Damazin.

In a statement, the Central Committee of Sudanese doctors reported about 100 deaths, mostly children, along with dozens of cases of acute water diarrhoea.

Bacteria

The Health Ministry Director-General of Blue Nile, Dr Ali Sayed denied that the deaths are a result of cholera, but rather water-diarrhoea disease that tests conducted by his Ministry have proved are caused by bacteria.

Sayed told Radio Dabanga that the disease appeared North of El Ruseiris on 17 August. On Wednesday the state had received three cases only. He called for the need for water chlorination and environmental health, explaining that the State has created an operations room to monitor the situation.

Isolation

Meanwhile a medical worker from Blue Nile state revealed an increase in incidences of diarrhoea that he believes to be cholera. He attributes the spread to polluted water and said that hospitals in the state have to isolate patients with diarrhoea to avoid infecting others.

He pointed out that state authorities have recommended that people boil drinking water.

He confirmed that while the Ministry of Health has failed to diagnose the disease so far, it formed an emergency room headed by the Minister to monitor development of the disease.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said that deaths in the Blue Nile as a result of diarrhoea have exceed 99 cases, 75 of which were children: 30  in El Damazin and 45 in El Roseires. They describe the situation in Blue Nile state as “tragic, catastrophic” and that “the hospitals’ handling of the crisis as shameful and irresponsible for people's lives.”

Chlorination

The Committee called on the Health Ministry to immediately declare a State of Emergency, admit that the Blue Nile is infected, and form an emergency room to follow up the situation, this as well as demanding the provision of intravenous perfusion salt solutions and clean water free of charge for all people.

Witnesses in Sennar state reported two deaths and seven cases of infection. A medical source confirmed to Radio Dabanga that two infection cases were noted at Wed Elnil, three cases at Benzega, and other cases – which included two fatalities at El Suki.

The source reported the emergence of more cases at El Marfaa area between Sennar and Sinja, and said that the Ministry of Health of Sennar sent a medical team to the area to contain the disease. On Wednesday the Federal Health Ministry Undersecretary arrived at Sennar and the Blue Nile to investigate the situation.


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