22 November 2012

Sudan: Darfur Citizens - Government Is Delaying Vaccination Campaign

Photo: Louise Roland-Gosselin/ Médecins Sans Frontières
Getting a check-up (file photo).

Darfur — Citizens of Central and South Darfur have criticized the authorities for delaying the start of the vaccination campaign, causing fear among citizens and camp residents that the disease will spread to the overcrowded displaced camps in the region, Radio Dabanga learned on Wednesday November 21.

Additionally, they criticized the authorities for their disregard of spraying operations against the mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

The citizens called on the health authorities to have all the people in the state vaccinated and to allow international aid organizations to access the area and help carry out the campaign as well as to contribute to the spraying operations.

'Disaster zone'

A camp coordinator from Zalingei called on the Government of Sudan to declare Darfur a 'disaster zone' and to allow health organizations to access the area to provide emergency assistance to affected citizens in the state. He also called for clear and honest information about the disease and its spread in Darfur.

The camp coordinator explained that there have been cases of death as a result of yellow fever in Zalingei and claimed that hospital doctors withhold the information. Additionally, he demanded that all the people of Darfur receive a vaccination against the disease.

He told Radio Dabanga that the authorities carried out spraying operations in Hamidiya camp and Hassa Hissa camp, which he considers to be insufficient. The camp coordinator demanded for an expansion of the spraying campaigns to all areas in Darfur, he added to Radio Dabanga from Zalingei.

Doctors from the area warn that the death toll and number of total infections in Darfur may require an intervention from the UN Security Council itself to remedy the deteriorating health situation and to mitigate the spread of the epidemic.

'We have not seen anything'

Residents from Nertity have informed Radio Dabanga that the vaccination campaign did not start until Wednesday, adding that they did not receive any notice regarding the start of the campaign.

A sheikh from the area told Radio Dabanga that 'we have heard about the announcement of the Federal Health Minister in the media about the start of the campaign on Tuesday, but we have not seen anything'.

He added that people are living in fear of the disease spreading through patients who come to the hospital from areas such as Aredeba and Lauda on the outskirts of the town. The sheikh called on the health authorities to urgently start the vaccination campaign, he added to Radio Dabanga from Nertity.

Residents from the three displaced camps in Garsila, Jeddah, Ardeeba and Jebelain, expressed their concern that the epidemic will spread to the camps, as the disease is allegedly spreading in southeastern regions such as El-Farig and Moro, at about eight kilometers from the camps.

'Real disaster'

An activist from Jeddah camp warned the authorities that they should vaccinate the people in the affected areas before the situation escalates, adding that he 'wants to see with his eyes what he has heard with his ears', he added to Radio Dabanga from Garsila.

Representatives of displaced people in North Darfur appealed to the World Health Organisation and the Federal Health Ministry to speed up the vaccination of all people of Darfur, including the displaced and residents in East Jebel Marra.

They also requested the alleged cases of poisoning due to remnants of aerial bombings to be examined and treated.

Omda Ahmed Ateem, North Darfur camps' coordinator, told Radio Dabanga that the outbreak of an epidemic would be a 'real disaster', he added to Radio Dabanga.

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