Home | News    Thursday 13 July 2006

’Neglected diseases’ re-emerge in South Sudan

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

July 12, 2006 (JUBA) — As southern Sudan emerges from decades of devastating civil war that has killed an estimated 2 million people, diseases believed to have been under control are resurfacing, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

"South Sudan has pretty much all the neglected diseases and has them in large quantities," said Mickey Richer, WHO communicable disease officer in southern Sudan. "These are not new diseases, but during the war health systems broke down and now the health system needs to be strengthened to get, and keep, them under control."

These so-called neglected tropical diseases include leprosy, elephantiasis, Kala Azar, which breaks down the immune system, river blindness, cholera, sleeping sickness, guinea worm and Buruli ulcer, described by one doctor as the ’flesh-eating disease’.

The populations most affected often are also the poorest and most vulnerable and are found mainly in tropical and subtropical areas. "These diseases don’t have a high visibility, because they occur among populations living in remote areas; they affect people ’at the end of the road’," Richer observed.

Some diseases affect individuals throughout their lives, causing physical disability and, in certain cases, gross disfigurement. Others are acute infections, with severe and sometimes fatal outcomes.

Even if patients survive a neglected disease, the resulting disability or disfigurement has large socio-economic implications, leaving them unable to work or shunned by their communities.

"These diseases also suffer from the lack of resources and research attributed to them," said the WHO’s communicable disease programme officer Jose Antonio Ruiz. "The drugs we are using for sleeping sickness, for example, were developed in the 1950s."

Over the past five years, WHO has developed a special unit to deal with neglected diseases, and some NGOs are campaigning for the development of new and more effective drugs to fight these illnesses. In southern Sudan, the Ministry of Health is working to increase the necessary laboratory capacity to diagnose cases more quickly so treatment is more rapid and the response more effective.

With the advent of peace, many more cases of neglected diseases are being discovered in previously isolated communities, Ruiz observed, while the increased movement of people also increases the risk of further transmission. "Non-immune people moving into an endemic area for a certain disease can quickly develop the disease if they don’t observe the correct precautions," he added.

Large-scale, regular treatment with effective and often inexpensive drugs plays a central role in the control of many neglected diseases. For another category of these diseases, mass drug administration is less effective and the only option is actively tracking case histories, allowing for more effective management at an early stage.

"For both methods of disease control to be successful you need a functioning health system with structures in place, the human resources required to carry out the programmes and ready access to often remote populations - all of which are problematic in southern Sudan at this moment in time," Richer observed.

(IRIN)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


The theory of African president and prime minister, working together 2014-11-22 05:32:12 By Steve Paterno November 21, 2014 - Africa is notoriously known for political instability, stemming in most cases, over power struggle among the ruling elites. Often times, the best and quick (...)

The UNAMID internal report on mass rape in Tabit. 2014-11-21 06:09:21 What UNAMID really said about their investigation of mass sexual assaults on Tabit: The internal report on what investigators found By Eric Reeves November 20, 2014 - On November 12, 2014 (...)

Bullying Darfur 2014-11-13 18:13:39 By Namaa Al-Mahdi November 13, 2014 - “We broke their backs in Abu Karshola, I doubt they have recovered since,” said a prominent Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) member about their counter attack on (...)


MORE








Latest Press Releases


Sudan Democracy First Group condemns wave of arbitrary arrests in Sudan 2014-09-25 05:17:35 Sudan Democracy First Group 25 September 2014 - In a desperate attempt to prevent a series of events commemorating the victims of the September 2013 protests, Sudan’s notorious National (...)

HRW calls on UN rights body to press Sudan to investigate murder of peaceful protesters 2014-09-24 21:24:09 Human Rights Watch One Year On, No Justice for Protester Deaths (Geneva, September 23, 2014) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should call on Sudan to account immediately for the death (...)

Hundreds walk for peace in South Sudan 2014-09-23 08:30:16 National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR) PRESS RELEASE Juba, 21 September 2014 - Hundreds of people took to the streets of the South Sudan capital Jubato ‘Walk for Peace’and demand (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2014 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.