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Sudan’s Popular Congress calls for declaration of cholera epidemic

Cholera bacteria (Himachal Live)
Cholera bacteria (Himachal Live)

On Saturday, the Popular Congress Party (PCP) handed a memorandum to Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh, calling for an official declaration of the cholera epidemic in the country.

The PCP that joined the new Government of National Concord said that the epidemic can only be contained if the disease is officially declared and international organisations can intervene.

The Sudanese authorities have acknowledged the spread of “acute watery diarrhoea” in the country since August last year, but categorically reject to call the disease by its real name.

Last week, the federal Minister of Health, Bahar Abugarda, told the national parliament that between August 2016 and May this year 14,659 people were infected and 292 died of watery diarrhoea.

Addressing the PCP Shura Council in Khartoum on Saturday, Secretary-General Dr Ali El Haj said that the government must take responsibility for the epidemic. “A declaration of a cholera outbreak will only benefit Sudan. Look at what happened in India and Thailand after they declared a cholera epidemic.”

He stressed that his party's participation in the government would not prevent them “from telling the truth”.

On Sunday, a group of activists protested in front of the federal Health Ministry in Khartoum against the authorities' “covering up the spread of cholera” in the country.

New patients

Since Thursday, eight cholera patients died, and more than 100 new infections were recorded at the Um Gargour camp for Eritrean refugees in eastern Sudan’s El Gedaref. Neighbouring Karkoura village reported three new cases.*

A medic told Radio Dabanga that the camp clinic does not have room for all the cases. “We have evacuated the other patients and reserved the wards exclusively for cholera patients,” he said. “The health authorities set up tents for the patients as well.”

He added that in El Gedaref Hospital at least two cholera patients died and about 50 others were treated last week.

In El Farshaya, near Delling in South Kordofan, 11 cholera patients died, and 89 new cases were recorded by the end of last week, a doctor told this station from Delling.

He said that no new cases were reported on Friday and Saturday. “Measures such as banning vegetables and fish from Kosti seem to help to reduce the spread of cholera.”

On Saturday, a man died of cholera at the El Banjadeed Hospital in Khartoum North’s El Haj Yousif. The hospital received nine new cases on Saturday and Sunday.

A medical source reported that patients are discharged from the El Banjadeed Hospital before they have recovered completely. “This is very dangerous, as they easily infect others again.”


* While great care is taken to ensure accuracy, figures quoted in reports on the cholera epidemic in Sudan should be viewed as approximate. As the Sudanese government has still not officially acknowledged the epidemic, reporting on the disease has been outlawed by security authorities. Our sources may therefore be subjected to harassment and intimidation for speaking to Radio Dabanga.

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