5 October 2017

Sudan: Cholera Still Scourge - New Disease Claims 12 Lives in North Darfur Capital

Nyala / Sinkat — An unidentified disease reportedly claimed the lives of 12 people from camp Otash for the displaced in Nyala, capital of South Darfur during the past week. 65 others were infected, however all but two have reportedly been discharged from hospital.

One of the sheikhs confirmed to Radio Dabanga that two displaced people from Otash camp remain at Nyala Teaching Hospital.

Heath emergency committee

On Tuesday Sinkat locality in eastern Sudan set up a health emergency committee against the backdrop of cases of cholera, while the director of Sinkat Hospital Mohamed El Kheir said there were two cases in the city hospital.

Journalist Osman Hashim attributed in an interview with Radio Dabanga the outbreak of the disease to the environmental deterioration and emergence of flies and absence of monitoring of milk, and the spread of cattle cages inside the city.

During a meeting of the emergency committee with the locality Commissioner on Tuesday Sinkat Health Director Khalid Sheikh pointed to a report published by the local media, to distribution of chlorine on water and schools as well as the distribution of prevention pills for the patients' attendants in addition to spraying and disinfecting.

Sinkat locality Commissioner, Mohamed Tita, directed the emergency committee to focus on cleaning campaigns in the peripheral areas and markets and to put in place a mechanism for the distribution of chlorine for houses, control of food, milk, water resources and health awareness.

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.

The epidemic - referred to as "acute watery diarrhoea" by the Sudanese government and several international agencies operating in Sudan - quickly spread in the camps for displaced people in Darfur when the first cases emerged in the region last June.

'Acute watery diarrhoea'

"The apparent unwillingness of the Government of Sudan to declare the cholera epidemic in the country severely affected national and international mobilisation efforts to rescue the victims and to provide them with the necessary protection," a group of 30 human rights and civil society advocates, organisations, and activists wrote in a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO). They urge the organisation to quickly intervene and effectively address the cholera epidemic in Sudan.

In the past the DRDC, among others, lobbied for the WHO and other relief agencies to develop emergency plans with Khartoum after it would declare the existence of cholera in the country and stopped using ambiguous terms for the disease.

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.

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