20 June 2017

Sudan Health Minister Confirms Chance of Epidemic

Khartoum / El Gedaref / El Gezira Aba — Sudanese Minister of Health, Bahar Idris Abugarda, acknowledges that the outbreak of watery diarrhoea - which the government refuses to call cholera - can grow into an epidemic in Sudan.

During an emergency meeting with state health ministers yesterday, Abugarda discussed the health situation in the states and arrangements for the re-opening of schools. He reported the registration of 171 new cases of 'watery diarrhoea' in the ten affected states. White Nile counts the most infections with 50 cases; followed by Khartoum with 40 new cases.

Abugarda reported the death of a person in South Kordofan. The Sudanese authorities have acknowledged the spread of "acute watery diarrhoea" in the country since August last year, but categorically refuse to call the disease by its real name.

The undersecretary of the Ministry, Essameldin Mohamed Abdallah said the total number of reported cases in Sudan has amounted 18,000. "The number of infections decreased from 200 to 58 cases a day," he claimed.

The director-general of El Gedaref's Ministry of Health, Ahmed El Amin, reported the death of three children and a man this week. He said that El Gedaref Hospital recorded more than 100 children and 35 men and women infected with cholera.

The former Minister of Health of El Gedaref, Mustafa El Sayed, told Radio Dabanga that cholera has become one of the endemic diseases in El Gedaref.

The figures remain approximate as the Sudanese government has still not officially acknowledged the epidemic. Yesterday the UK-Ireland section of the Sudanese Doctors' Union called on Khartoum to officially declare the outbreak of cholera and activate the disaster protocols.

A leader of civil society organisations in White Nile, Abdelrahman El Siddig reported the death of a woman in El Gezira Aba and the infection of 190 people in El Maraabi during the past three days.

He confirmed that infections of cholera continue in El Maraabi, El Duweim and El Miganis, adjacent to South Sudan.

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