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Medics Sound Alarm as Cholera and Dengue Fever Spread in Sudan

Challenges Mount as Seasonal Rains and Conflict Impact Health System

Challenges Mount as Seasonal Rains and Conflict Impact Health System

As seasonal rains descend on Sudan, medics in the region issue a dire warning about the increasing spread of cholera and dengue fever.

Cholera Resurfaces Amid Conflict:

Health authorities in Sudan have confirmed cholera cases for the first time since the outbreak of hostilities between rival military factions in mid-April. The federal health ministry reported that the earliest cholera case was detected in al-Qadarif state in late August. Tragically, 18 individuals have lost their lives, and 265 have been infected with cholera in al-Qadarif state.

Dengue Fever on the Rise:

A doctors’ syndicate in Sudan revealed alarming statistics, with 3,398 cases of dengue fever recorded across al-Qadarif, Red Sea, North Kordofan, and Khartoum states between mid-April and mid-September. The syndicate emphasized that these figures likely represent only the tip of the iceberg, with many more unrecorded cases suspected in homes and among those buried without official records.

Contributing Factors:

Several factors have contributed to the surge in waterborne diseases, including the pollution of drinking water from unburied bodies and waste. Additionally, the health system was ill-prepared for the rainy season.

Rising Disease Transmission in al-Qadarif:

Residents of al-Qadarif, a vital region for Sudan’s rain-fed agricultural production bordering Ethiopia, reported the spread of dengue fever, malaria, cholera, and diarrhea. A lack of rainwater drainage and overcrowded health facilities, partly due to the influx of people displaced from Khartoum, have aggravated the situation.

Conflict Takes a Toll:

The conflict between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which began on April 15, has seen numerous attacks on healthcare facilities. Most hospitals in Khartoum are now out of service.

Displacement and Pressure on Resources:

Over 4.2 million people have fled their homes due to the ongoing war, with nearly 1.2 million crossing into neighboring countries. This displacement has placed immense pressure on Sudan’s already limited resources. International relief efforts in the region remain severely underfunded.

Urgent Concerns for Child Health:

The United Nations recently reported that over 1,200 children have died in refugee camps in Sudan’s White Nile state due to suspected measles and malnutrition. Furthermore, the country faces the looming threats of cholera, dengue fever, and malaria, posing a significant risk to public health.

Dengue fever’s endemic presence in Sudan further compounds the challenge, as repeat infections can be more severe and sometimes fatal, making its containment a long-term concern. The health crisis in Sudan is a pressing matter that requires immediate attention and support from the international community.

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