Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

27 November 2012

Sudan: Yellow Fever Casualty Reported in Central Darfur Camp

Photo: Norbert Domy/Sanofi Pasteur
A yellow fever vaccination drive (file photo).

Darfur — A Zalingei camps coordinator, in Central Darfur, announced that one person died and another five were infected by yellow fever in the past weeks, Radio Dabanga has learned on Tuesday, 27 November.

The fatal victim is Abdul Rezek Abdel Mawla, the coordinator said, explaining that infected patients are being transferred from health centers in Hamidiya and Hassahissa camps to Zalingei hospital.

According to him, yellow fever cases are only appearing now in camps as a result of the spraying campaigns carried out by health authorities. He appealed that these campaigns are intensified in camps, towns and villages of Central Darfur.

'Not true'

The Minister of Health from Central Darfur, Issa Mohamed Musa Yusuf, assured that the declarations made by the Zalingei camps coordinator are not true. He stressed that there are no cases of yellow fever in the Hamidiya camp.

He declared that only one person died of yellow fever in camp Hassahissa, but that the victim actually contracted the disease in a farm in Tululu area, and not in the camp.

Yusuf also announced that four cases of yellow fever were registered at the El-Salam camp, but that also these victims contracted the disease elsewhere, namely around the El-Sreji area.

Speaking to the legislative council in Khartoum, Sudan's Federal Minister of Health, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda stressed that no cases of yellow fever have been reported in displaced camps in Darfur. On the same occasion, he acknowledged the weak potential of the state to fight the disease, despite 'major' efforts from state health ministries.

'Questionable'

Abdel Jabbar Adam, council member from West Darfur, rejected the statement by the federal minister asserting that that no cases of yellow fever have been reported in displaced camps in Darfur.

Adam said the situation in Darfur is a lot more serious than what the minister indicated. He added that the disease first emerged in August and continued spreading until November, even reaching the 'presidential palaces'.

The council member called for the formation of an investigative committee to visit Darfur and check the reports and numbers presented by the minister about the yellow fever epidemic.

Central Darfur: 78 deaths

Issa Mohamed Moussa Ahmed, minister of health from Central Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that a total of 78 people died and 362 were infected with yellow fever in the state by Tuesday.

On Monday, Ahmed said that about 195.178 citizens had been vaccinated since the campaign started three days before. He pointed out to the intense presence of tribes' members in health centers and called for a larger turn out among the rest of the population.

West Darfur: one death

West Darfur, considered a stable state regarding the emergence of yellow fever cases, witnessed another fatal victim in the last few days, according to the state's Minister of Health Ahmed Ishaq Yaqub.

He said the latest death brought the amount of fatalities in the state to 49, adding that 177 people were diagnosed with the disease so far.

In addition, three new cases have been reported in the area of For Baranga, the minister revealed. He stressed that 'all arrangements are now underway to immediately deliver vaccines to the population of the whole area'.

Yaqub told Radio Dabanga that the vaccination rate in West Darfur reached 49 percent in the last five days, noting that this figure does not include mobile units. He expected that in seven days, by the end of the campaign, 100 percent of the population will have been vaccinated.

Sudanese Doctors Union U.K.

The Sudanese Doctors Union U.K. from the United Kingdom and Ireland called for an immediate action from the federal ministry of health.

It asked that the ministry raises awareness and explains the cause of the disease to the public, as well as ways to prevent yellow fever from spreading following the instructions provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a statement, the union requested the ministry to commit and work hard to develop public hospitals in Darfur and to ensure that the vaccine against yellow fever is actually reducing its spread.

The union also requested that international humanitarian organizations be allowed to carry out their tasks because of their expertise in dealing with such crises. The Sudanese doctors expressed their willingness to provide any kind of assistance to mitigate the epidemic.

The statement read that the deteriorating health situation in villages and towns across Darfur will require a tremendous effort from all parties in Sudan and the rest of the world to contain the deadly disease.

Also, it was pointed out that the policy of 'sticking your head in the sand', which the current regime is accustomed to, will not work in such crises as 'an epidemic knows no borders'.

Lastly, the doctors warned that failure to address the epidemic will allow it to spread to all towns and cities in Sudan, according to the statement.

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