Sudan cholera epidemic rages on
The cholera epidemic that is sweeping Sudan has claimed further lives in Darfur and elsewhere across the country, however the Khartoum government – as well as some international agencies – still resolutely refer to ‘acute watery diarrhoea’.
On Wednesday volunteer activists and doctors reported to Radio Dabanga that two people died of cholera and six others were infected in the South Darfur capital of Nyala on Tuesday.
A doctor reported to Radio Dabanga that one of the deaths was in El Jebel district and the second one was at El Wehda district in the city.
The isolation centre of the nearby Kalma camp for the displaced persons recorded two new cases of cholera on 26 and 27 of September.
Yesterday Salah Eisa, the general -secretary of camp Kalma, told Radio Dabanga that four of the infection cases were discharged from the centre, while four other cases have remained hospitalised at the centre for treatment
On Wednesday a woman and her son died of cholera at Murnei Hospital in West Darfur and two others were infected.
Two people died and eight others were infected at camp Otash in South Darfur.
‘Acute watery diarrhoea’
In Khartoum, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Esam Abdallah confirmed that there are states continuing to record cases of ‘acute watery diarrhoea’, including Khartoum which has recorded five cases during the past few days.
The Undersecretary acknowledged that there is a shortage of health personnel because of the emigration of doctors.
He has stressed that the emigration is still ongoing despite the treatments resorted to by raising the incentives for specialist doctors who move to the states to limit emigration.
In spite of numerous independent confirmations (conducted according to WHO standards) that the disease currently ravaging Sudan is indeed cholera, the Government of Sudan and several international organisations still refuse to refer to it by this name.
Yesterday, a delegation led by Abdelbagi Jibril, president of the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre today handed an open letter to the Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urging him and his organisation to urgently intervene and address the cholera epidemic in Sudan. The letter was signed by 30 human rights and civil society advocates, organisations, and activists.
Mentioning the infectious disease by its real name is not allowed in Sudan. Activists confirm that this compromises the treatment of the disease and contributes to the lack of medicines and rehydration solutions made available.
The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has repeatedly warned the press in the country not to cross this “red line”. In April, an eastern Sudanese journalist was detained for reporting about cholera.
However, some international humanitarian organisations, for example, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) still insist on referring to ‘acute watery diarrhoea’ in their reports. Radio Dabanga asked UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas, about the rationale behind this but has yet to receive a response.
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