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Sudan Call memo to WHO highlights ‘collapse in Sudan health sector’

October 18 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector of chikungunya and Dengue viruses (file photo: vectorbase.org)
Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector of chikungunya and Dengue viruses (file photo: vectorbase.org)

The Sudan Call, a coalition of opposition parties and armed movements, has submitted a memorandum to the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) drawing attention to “the terrible collapse in the health sector, the spread of epidemics in Sudan such as cholera, and its transformation into an endemic disease amid government misinformation”.

The memorandum has strongly criticised the government for covering-up the outbreak of chikungunya fever in eastern Sudan and the lack of transparency in dealing with epidemics with the use of scientific means to control which has led to disastrous results.

The memorandum condemns “the failure to vaccinate thousands of children in Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile for seven years because of the intransigence of the government,” calling it a crime against children and endangering regional health.

It has condemned the authorities use of the security approach to deal with the doctors’ strike, prompting hundreds to flee the country.

The memorandum called on the WHO to pressure the government of Sudan to allocate five per cent of the state budget to the health sector, give priority to health services in war-affected zones, and give special consideration for women.

Chikungunya

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed in a report that laboratory tests of samples from the infected people in Sudan’s Kassala state show cases of dengue fever along with chikungunya. The outbreak of chikungunya fever, popularly known as kankasha, began in August after heavy rains hit the state and El Gash river flooded large pieces of land.

Cholera

Sudan has experienced an epidemic since 2016 which the Sudanese government insists on calling ‘watery diarrhoea’ 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’.

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

In May, Sudan’s federal Minister of Health, Bahr Idris Abu Garda, declared that Sudan is now free of the 'watery diarrhoea' outbreak (suspected to be cholera) that hit various parts of the country during the past year.


Follow #CholeraInSudan#الكوليرا_السودان for ongoing coverage by Radio Dabanga


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