Humanitarian soldiers step up response to deadly cholera outbreak in Sudan

UN agencies and partners are scaling up the response to the outbreak, which was first declared in Gedaref state, located in the east, on 26 September.

At least 2,525 suspected cases of acute watery diarrhea/cholera have been reported, including 78 associated deaths, in 27 localities in seven states.

Millions at risk

More than 3.1 million people are estimated to be at risk by the end of the year, according to the latest OCHA update.

Humanitarian agencies support the detection and treatment of cases, while monitoring is ongoing in affected and high-risk areas to identify and address risk factors.

Last week, the sixth flight chartered by the United Nations health agency, WHOlanded in Port Sudan, located on the coast of the Red Sea, from its Global Logistics Hub in Dubai.

The aircraft delivered more than 33 metric tons of cholera response supplies, including medicine, laboratory supplies and equipment, as well as reproductive health kits to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Vaccines on the way

In addition, the international mechanism that manages and coordinates emergency vaccine supplies has approved the authorities’ request for nearly three million doses of oral cholera vaccines that will be used in campaigns in nine locations in Gedaref and two other states.

They are expected to arrive on November 20 and the vaccination campaigns should begin at the end of the month.

The conflict still rages

The cholera outbreak takes place against the backdrop of a conflict that erupted in mid-April between the Sudanese army and a rival paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

More than six million people have fled their homes and 1.2 million have fled across the border.

United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, recently warned that reports of continued sexual violence, torture, killings and other abuses in West Darfur mirror atrocities committed 20 years ago.

The healthcare system is under pressure

The conflict is “stretching the health system to its limits”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, posting on the X social media platform.

“As violence escalates in Darfur, numerous individuals are fleeing to Chad in search of safety, further straining an already fragile nation,” he wrote.

Although the WHO is “actively coordinating with partners to establish mobile clinics, improve surveillance and distribute essential medicines and supplies,” Tedros said efforts are being hampered by “the challenging security situation, as well as bureaucratic and administrative obstacles that impede access.”

He appealed to the international community to focus attention on Sudan and the urgent needs there.

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