September 17, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -North (SPLM-N) and several doctors unions affiliated to opposition parties have urged the government to declare an outbreak of cholera in the Blue Nile State a national emergency and to allow local and international response.
- A child receives an oral cholera vaccine dose in the South Sudan capital, Juba (Medair Photo)
Sudanese government is refusing to declare a suspected outbreak of cholera an epidemic despite the deaths of over 17 people. Health officials are insisting that the disease is acute watery diarrhoea - a symptom of cholera -, pointing it is under control.
The government, nonetheless, has officially admitted 614 cases of " acute watery diarrhoea", while unofficial reports say cholera death toll has risen to over 100 cases.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, SPLM-N Chairman Malik Agar Saturday called on the government to acknowledge cholera outbreak in the Blue Nile state, to take rapid action and provide urgent medical support to people in the areas affected by the epidemic.
Agar said he "contacted a number of specialists and doctors in connection with the deteriorating health situation in the Blue Nile, and beyond reasonable doubt he made sure that the cholera epidemic is spreading quickly, while the government lack of interest rises to the level of criminal negligence".
He further called on the regional and international organizations to pay attention to what is happening in the Blue Nile State , adding that "the government’s silence is to be added to the crimes of the regime.".
The SPLM-N rebels are fighting the government of President Omer al-Bashir in South Darfur and Blue Nile states since June 2011.
An African Union mediation team is brokering a process to end the five-year conflict. The ongoing efforts for a cessation of hostilities aim to allow humanitarian access to the war affected areas and to pave the way for an all-parties constitutional conference.
Opposition doctors unions of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the National Umma Party (NUP) released statements about the alarming situation in the Blue Nile State and asserted that all the indicators strongly suggest that the spread of diarrhea is the result of infection with the cholera bacterium.
The practitioners further called on the decision-makers to put aside political "tricks" and to deal in a professional manner with the outbreak in line with preventive medicine and public health rules.
Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by consuming food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The bacteria can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to death, so treatment needs to be swift.