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Tuberculosis on the rise in Sudan

April 17 - 2021 KHARTOUM
Photo by worldlifeexpectancy.com
Photo by worldlifeexpectancy.com

The Sudanese Ministry of Health has sounded the alarm about the growing number of tuberculosis cases in the country. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in Sudan in March last year reached 31,790.

On Thursday, doctor Israa Abushama of the Ministry’s National Programme for Combating Tuberculosis confirmed a rapid spread of the disease, in particular among young people.

She mentioned stigma as a major reason for not searching for help or the discontinuation of the treatment – which is provided free of charge at health centres in the country, thanks to the Global Support Fund.

In the 1990s, 40 TB cases per 100,000 people were recorded, but this has risen to 67 cases per 100,000 people. In 2019, 20,164 cases were reported.

The rate of detection was 60-64 per cent in the past years, which means that that 36-40 per cent of the Sudanese suffering from TB have not been diagnosed.

In the period 2015-2019, prevalence was highest in Khartoum, El Gezira, Red Sea state, Kassala, El Gedaref, Sennar, Blue Nile state, and White Nile state.

Doctor Abushama mentioned an improvement in treatment outcomes, reaching 84 per cent in 2019, compared to 80 per cent the previous year.

Yet, obstacles to combat tuberculosis in Sudan remain. They include laboratories of about 340 health centres that stopped checking TB due to the shortage of materials and staff, in addition to the poor awareness of the Sudanese about the disease, and the lack of support for TB patients from the state.

The National Programme for Combating Tuberculosis needs at least $27 million, Abushama explained, and noted that the Global Support Fund guaranteed $13 million for three years to combat TB in the country.

There is a weakness in the coverage of preventive treatment in all states of Sudan, she said, and announced that the Health Ministry will exert efforts to increase the rate of preventive treatment the coming years.

On April 4, the Ministry of Health reported in a seminar on the subject that the preventive treatment during the years 2021-2023 will be increased. Requirements for this purpose will arrive in August 2021.

COVID-19

In Red Sea state in eastern Sudan, the COVID-19 emergency room reported a decline in coronavirus infection cases on Thursday. No new case was recorded during the past 72 hours.

Northern State announced the registration of six new cases on Wednesday. At least 57 patients are treated at home, and four in isolation centres, the Health Ministry of the state said.

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases reached 31,790 cases, the federal Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday. The number of deaths increased to 2,208 and, while the total of patients who recovered is 25,539 cases.

End March, member of the Sovereignty Council and Chairman of the Committee for Health Emergencies, Siddig Tawir, described the health situation in regard to COVID-19 in Sudan as “alarming for everyone”. He added that if the current trend continues, it will require “strict measures and closures”.

The Socialist Doctors Association said in a statement on April 5 that the health system in the country has collapsed. The very poor medicine supply services “herald a catastrophic situation”. 58 per cent of essential medicines, including life-saving medicines, are not available anymore in Sudan.

 


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