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Protest against cholera 'cover-up' in Khartoum

May 26 - 2017 KHARTOUM / ASALAYA
A protest against the Sudanese Ministry of Health in Khartoum on 25 May to demand the declaration of cholera in the state of White Nile state, central Sudan (RD)
A protest against the Sudanese Ministry of Health in Khartoum on 25 May to demand the declaration of cholera in the state of White Nile state, central Sudan (RD)

Protesters condemned the silence of Sudanese authorities regarding the outbreak of cholera in Sudanese states and carried banners in front of the Ministry of Health in Khartoum on Thursday.

Activists and others held banners asking the government to declare a State of Emergency to effectively combat the disease that has gripped the people in White Nile state, and neighbouring states, for more than six months.

The Governor of White Nile, however, said that with his mandate he cannot announce a State of Emergency; that must be done by the World Health Organisation. Sudan's First Vice-President, Bakri Hassan Saleh has instructed the provision of all necessary aids to contain the disease in the state through rapid and effective interventions.

A report released by the independent Sudan Doctors Committee on Wednesday states that in the past weeks 62 people in White Nile state died from cholera and the disease infected nearly 1,800 people.

The committee said that the epidemic spreads to the outskirts of Khartoum and El Gezira states, where health conditions have deteriorated, while the government deals with the disease in secrecy and neglects the known health procedures.

White Nile

Areas in the state with the highest numbers of cases include Asalaya, El Duweim, Kosti, Rabak, El Giteina, El Gezira Aba, El Jebelein and Tendelti. Yesterday reports reached Radio Dabanga of seven new cases in Asalya (5) and El Jebelein (2) localities.

In addition the number of hospitalised patients infected with cholera in the isolation centre at Kombo Asalaya school reached 40 cases, after receiving five new cases on Thursday. Abdelrahman El Siddig, the head of local civil society organisations, told Radio Dabanga that the centre is short of medical staff. “One nurse works there and a doctor. They are coming to the school from Rabak every the morning.”

'Watery diarrhoea'

Since the start of the cholera outbreak in parts of Sudan, federal health authorities continue to deny its presence, and have instructed all medics and health workers to speak about watery diarrhoea instead. A UK-based Sudanese specialist told Radio Dabanga in January that cholera "seems to be a stigma for the government".

​Video: Radio Dabanga correspondent shows the conditions at Wad El Zaki hospital in White Nile state. The Narator explains (in Arabic) that the hospital is overcrowded, and that patients must lie out in the open. Wad El Zaki lies on the banks of the White Nile, just 120 kilometres downstream from the national capital of Khartoum.

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