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Over 35,000 'watery diarrhoea' cases in Sudan: WHO, Ministry

October 17 - 2017 SUDAN
A poster by Unicef explains how to treat cholera in South Sudan. Cholera is recognised as being endemic in South Sudan with both local and cross-border spreading. Since the armed conflict broke out in 2013, three cholera outbreaks have been reported in South Sudan. The outbreaks have typically occurred during the rainy season in states along the big rivers.
A poster by Unicef explains how to treat cholera in South Sudan. Cholera is recognised as being endemic in South Sudan with both local and cross-border spreading. Since the armed conflict broke out in 2013, three cholera outbreaks have been reported in South Sudan. The outbreaks have typically occurred during the rainy season in states along the big rivers.

The total number of reported cases of 'acute watery diarrhoea' across 18 states of Sudan has reached over 35,000 people – including 800 related deaths since August 2016 – according to the latest update from the World Health Organization and the Sudanese Ministry of Health. 

“The outbreak is affecting all demographics, with females constituting 54 percent of the cases and children below five years of age accounting for 8 percent,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in its latest bi-weekly bulletin. Acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) is the term the Sudanese government and international humanitarian organisations active in Sudan, have referred to.

The bulletin continues that “active transmission of AWD is ongoing in all 18 states of Sudan with the exception of West Kordofan and Northern states, where the last reported cases were on 13 August and 12 September, respectively.

“The source of infection is believed to be contaminated open water sources combined with poor sanitation and hygiene practices. The report indicated that the case fatality ratio, which peaked [at the end of August] at 4.75 per cent, has come down to 1.53 per cent.”

Sudan’s first cases of cholera were recorded in Blue Nile state in August last year. Since then, the disease spread in eastern Sudan, and later to the Northern State and central Sudan’s El Gezira. In April, sources in White Nile state reported a rapid spread of cholera. The disease then spread to North Kordofan, and fully hit Khartoum in May.

Throughout Sudan medical sources and people who have volunteered in campaigns to combat the spread of cholera regularly report on the number of cholera victims in specific areas.

Acute watery diarrhoea’

Human rights and civil society advocates, organisations, and activists have written in a letter to the WHO to quickly intervene and effectively address the cholera epidemic in Sudan after Khartoum would declare the existence of cholera in the country. Neither the WHO nor OCHA have replied to repeated requests by Radio Dabanga to elaborate on this position.

The WHO, as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) are responding to the ‘acute watery diarrhoea’ disease by establishing health facilities in a number of Sudan’s affected states, and training medical staff, a recent humanitarian news bulletin reported.


Follow #CholeraInSudan#الكوليرا_السودان for ongoing coverage by Radio Dabanga


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