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Minister: 10 health workers stricken by COVID-19 in Sudan’s second wave

November 24 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Poster urging social distancing (Sudan Ministry of Health)
Poster urging social distancing (Sudan Ministry of Health)

The number of deaths among medical personnel in Sudan has increased to 10 since the beginning of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Osama Abdelrahim, the acting Minister of Health, reported at a press briefing on Monday, a large number of employees of the Ministry of Health have also been infected.

At the briefing at the Sudan News Agency on Monday, Minister Abdelrahim referred to an escalation in death rates and infections with the coronavirus, stressing the need for daily life to continue while adhering to health requirements and healthy behaviour (social distancing). He stressed that there are no plans for a complete lockdown.

On November 21 and 22, a total of 379 new COVID-19 cases were reported. Five patients died, and 117 recovered. The majority of the new cases, 330, was recorded in Khartoum. 31 cases were recorded in neighbouring El Gezira, according to official figures released today by the Sudanese Ministry of Health.

For polio, which has led to paralysis of children in 13 Sudanese states, Abdelrahim said that the ministry has drawn up a three-month plan, explaining that is facing a funding challenge, which would affect the ministry’s ability to fight the disease.

He stressed that the support for the second wave is very weak and noted that the ministry is facing the debts of the first wave of the pandemic, consisting of dues for medical personnel, which created a crisis of confidence between the ministry and health workers.

The main goal of the ministry’s plan is to continue health activities and reduce the spread of the virus, he said.

The ministry has developed a general health strategy based on expanding the health system’s capacity to receive new cases, increasing the laboratory’s capacity for examination and improving performance in monitoring and investigation, in addition to drafting legislation that promotes health behaviour, and the importance of an effective media message capable of bringing about the desired change.

The Forensic Medicine Authority of the Khartoum state Ministry of Health announced in a press statement that in the event of suspicion or infection, no corpses will be admitted to the mortuaries unless they have been tested for coronavirus.

In case of positive test results, the bodies must be prepared inside hospitals or isolation centres according to the protocol for dealing with COVID-19 corpses before transferring them to the morgues.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said in a statement on Sunday that it considers COVID-19 a national security threat. It called on the health authorities to raise an alert.

“The new cases announced by the ministry in its regular reports do not reflect the real epidemiological situation”, the SPA stated. It condemned that the cases registered in private laboratories are not included in the official figures and that there is no plan to make that happen.

The association reported at the time that seven health care professionals had died in Sudan during the past week.

Sudanese doctors assert that the spread of the virus is being underreported in official figures and the real number of cases is much greater.

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