Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

Sudan: Fever Kills 78, Reaches 'Epidemic Level'

Photo: Louise Roland-Gosselin/ Médecins Sans Frontières
Getting a check-up (file photo): Yellow fever is caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes and it is a common disease in South America and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Darfur — The spread of yellow fever in Darfur reached an 'epidemic level' that requires immediate intervention from the central government, according to an announcement made by Member of Parliament Ibrahim Abbaker on Wednesday, 7 November.

According to an official from the Ministry of Health from Khartoum, the number of cases of hemorrhagic fever in Darfur has reached more than 220. He revealed that 78 people have died so far in 18 localities.

The official disclosed to Radio Dabanga that the World Health Organization (WHO) sent samples of the virus to Dakar, in Senegal, for examination. This way, he explained, authorities will find out the exact nature of the disease that is spreading across Darfur.

The source hopes that the Sudanese Ministry of Health will receive the result of the tests this week still, so that vaccines against the disease can be ordered and a campaign targeting 3.5 million people in Darfur can be launched.

He expects that, once ordered, the vaccines would arrive within two weeks in Darfur, Radio Dabanga was informed.

'Catastrophic'

The ministry of health from South Darfur announced that 47 people had been infected with the fever by Tuesday, describing the situation as 'catastrophic'. In a statement, the ministry stressed the importance of providing vaccinations to citizens of Darfur.

At the same time, Issa Mohamed, minister of health of Central Darfur, revealed that yellow fever cases rose to 141, including 58 deaths, until Tuesday.

In West Darfur, the government announced that the total cases of yellow fever reached 51 by Tuesday, and that 22 people have died.

Ministers prevented from talking

The federal Ministry of Health has reportedly issued strict orders to health ministers from Darfur preventing them from talking or making any statements to the media concerning the yellow fever epidemic and its mortality rates.

Instead, ministers are expected to provide facts about the disease to the federal department of epidemiology three times a week, sources told Radio Dabanga. This way, they explained, the federal government can process the information before releasing it to the media.

Sources suggested to Radio Dabanga that this is an attempt of the federal government to cover up the epidemic. At the same time, citizens from Darfur have repeatedly accused the government of Sudan of withholding information about the disease.

In addition, citizens demanded that the government officially declares Darfur a 'disaster area'.

Darfur residents are calling on the international community and humanitarian organizations, including the WHO, to immediately intervene and save human lives in Darfur.

New mosquito type

Ali Mirghani, South Darfur director of epidemiology revealed to Radio Dabanga that a new type of mosquito has been spreading in two Nyala neighborhoods, Sikka Hadeed and Al-Wadi.

He called on media campaigns to educate citizens about combating the larval and water stages of these mosquitoes.

Meanwhile, the federal Minister of Health, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, stated that the disease spread by this mosquito can be controlled with vaccinations.

Lastly, Mirghani revealed that an armed group has kidnapped two vehicles with three employees of the ministry of health who were working on spraying areas around Mershing and East Jebel Marra, North Darfur, Radio Dabanga has learned on Thursday.

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InFocus

Sudan's Deadly Fever Hits 'Epidemic Level'

Getting a check-up (file photo): Yellow fever is caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes and it is a common disease in South America and in sub-Saharan Africa.

The number of people infected and dying from yellow fever continues to rise as the disease spreads rapidly through the Darfur region. Read more »