May 24, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Nearly 40 students undergoing military training as part of mandatory national service in Sudan’s northern Nile River State have been quarantined after they contracted measles.
The measles outbreak started two days ago at the 49th Brigade camp of national service in the key town of Atbara, raising fears of further infections as well as concerns over health conditions in other camps.
Rabi Ali Mohammed, the coordinator of national service in the state, said that more than 30 students are suspected to have contracted measles and were therefore quarantined at Atbara Educational Hospital for further medical examination.
The national service administration in Sudan requires male students who sat for secondary schools exams to undergo arduous military training at camps in order to be able to join universities and qualify for future employment opportunities. Secondary school students are also required to wear military uniform during three years of study.
Students often complain of experiencing difficulties in the training as it takes place under unfavourable conditions and high temperature during the summer, while parents tend to fret that their sons are too young to cope with military training.
However, the national service official Rabie said that health conditions at the three camps in Atbara and Shendi, another key town in the state, were “under control.”
Meanwhile, an official at the local ministry of health said that 37 cases of measles infections were reported to Atbara Hospital. He denied there were any death cases and described the situation of those infected as “stable”. He further added that all student conscripts at the camp had been vaccinated.