Sudan: MOH Confirms Two Polio Cases

Khartoum / Northern State / Red Sea — The Sudanese Ministry of Health has reported two cases of polio, meanwhile advising prevention strategies against the spread of Covid-19. Khartoum medics protested against poor accomodation and unpaid salaries yesterday.

The Ministry said in a statement on Monday that there are more suspected cases under laboratory examination, after confirming two cases of polio in Sudan by laboratory testing on Saturday. According to 2005 international regulations, a confirmation of one case is considered a declaration of an epidemic.

Ethiopia, Chad, and the Central African Republic have reported vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases this year. Chad has reported 62 cVDPV2 cases in 2020. Across the African continent, 133 type 2 cases in 14 countries have been reported in 2020, significantly higher than 47 this time last year.

Sudan's Ministry of Health stressed in a statement that the current situation requires concerted efforts at all levels to contain the epidemic.

Polio cases are surging in many countries, and models paint a "pretty bleak picture" if campaigns don't restart soon, said Michel Zaffran, Director of the Polio Eradication Programme at the World Health Organization, last month: "For now, countries will only be responding to outbreaks; preventive campaigns remain on hold."

In "urgent" recommendations in late May, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said it expected circulation of polioviruses "to increase exponentially during the upcoming high season," raising the possibility of "uncontrolled multi-country outbreaks."

The decades-long campaign to eradicate polio globally was already suffering major setbacks in 2019, before the declaration of Covid-19 as a global pandemic.

Covid-19 aid

According to the Ministry of Health, Covid-19 is still spreading in the Northern State and Red Sea state. The Acting Minister of Health, Sara Abdelazim, reiterated the importance of prevention strategies against the virus yesterday.

UNICEF described the Covid-19 death rate in Sudan as the highest in the Sahel and Sahara countries at 6%. The global estimated death rate is 3 to 4%.

The organisation announced that 58,000 tons of equipment, medical aid, and protective clothing will arrive today at Khartoum International Airport.

Abdelgadir Mousa, representative of UNICEF, called for awareness raising about social distancing and sanitation, along with conducting research and studies on how health information and advice is received. The Ministry of Health set up a Covid-19 hotline with UNICEF and other partners earlier this year to tackle misinformation about coronavirus.

Medics evicted

Yesterday, medical personnel of the Jabra Isolation Centre in Khartoum organised a protest vigil after being evicted and transferred to new residences.

The new housing is unsuitable, according to one medical personnel at the vigil, as people are living in rooms of four to ten, rather one or two in the previous housing. Allegedly, the sanitation and ventilation facilities are also unsuitable.

None of the centre's medical personnel have received their July salaries, according to the medic, who described the experience as "humiliating".

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