Letter via Africa: Sudan’s rulers ‘shirking action on cholera’

A cholera-stricken woman showing signs of malnutrition sits next to fellow patients (background) outside a temporary field hospital near the remote village of Dor within the Awerial county in south-central Sudan on April 28, 2017Image copyright
AFP

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Refugee camps have been identified as the source of the cholera outbreak

within the latest of our series of letters via African journalists, Yousra Elbagir criticises the Sudanese government’s failure to get to grips which has a cholera outbreak.

After 10 months, Sudan’s Ministry of Health finally confirmed in which there have been 265 deaths and also also also more than 16,000 infected cases of “acute watery diarrhoea” in 11 of the country’s 18 states.

A half-admission in which came only after the disease pierced the bubble of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.

Medical professionals have long diagnosed the cases as cholera, despite the euphemisms the government has insisted on to downplay the severity of the crisis.

nevertheless cholera by any additional name will be still cholera.

The Federal Minister of Health, Bahar Abu Garda, told parliament in which cases of “watery diarrhoea” were not his business – shifting blame to the Ministry of Water Resources and also also also State Ministers.

‘Crumbling infrastructure’

The private hospital of Khartoum’s State Minister of Health, Mamoun Himeda, includes a printed sign on the door, refusing the admission of any cases of watery diarrhoea.

In April, journalist Ammar El-Daw was detained for reporting on the outbreak and also also also accused of defamation by the minister of his home state, Gaderef.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Some Sudanese have accused President Bashir’s government of ignoring them

While the country’s politicians continue to shirk responsibility and also also also avoid action, the number of cases continues to climb.

The first infections were confirmed as early as August 2016, within the White Nile state where the cluster of South Sudanese refugee camps has been identified by the government as the source of the outbreak.

Whatever the origins, Sudan’s crumbling infrastructure and also also also underfunded healthcare system made conditions rife for the disease to spread. Poor sanitation, meagre emergency services and also also also underpaid doctors, striking intermittently since October 2016, have left the nation extremely vulnerable.

Medics have highlighted the lack of quarantine spaces and also also also photos have been shared online of brackish water pouring out of taps across the country.


Yousra Elbagir:

Image copyright
Douglas Fry

Just as before, the Sudanese community must rely on itself to fulfil its basic needs.


Imams are spreading awareness at Friday sermons in mosques across the capital Khartoum, calling for the government to address the issue and also also also praying to God to prevent a disaster.

Citizens are handing out health and also also also safety pamphlets throughout the capital and also also also activists are taking to Twitter and also also also Facebook to spread awareness and also also also criticise the government’s approach.

Trigger word

and also also also protests have broken out at cemeteries after the mass burial of tens of bodies, all victims of cholera. Locals have organised two sit-ins within the White Nile state. All of which seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

the globe Health Organization has been ominously silent within the face of the growing crisis. Many assume in which pressure via the government – never shy to expel a UN official for saying the wrong thing – has left them at a loss for words.

In This particular case, “cholera” seems to be the trigger word.

Image copyright
Twitter

Image copyright
Twitter

Sudanese Twitter users have been using the hashtag #CholeraInSudan, hoping to attract international attention and also also also pressurising the government to act – the same international pressure in which forced the Sudanese government to restore subsidies on imported medicine back in November.

Just as before, the Sudanese community must rely on itself to fulfil its basic needs.


  • More via Yousra Elbagir:

Sudanese fight for their African identity

How poets are fighting censorship in Sudan

Why Sudanese people still feel like pariahs


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