الثلاثاء، 28 أكتوبر، 2014

The Government of Sudan Must Act Immediately to Control or Prevent an Ebola Outbreak

The issue of Ebola Virus disease is creating a lot of debates in Sudan while the authorities being ambiguous and giving shady statements to calm the people.

As I mentioned earlier in the post Ebola in Sudan?  unofficial sources prefers to remain anonymous testified that there was a case identified in Khartoum hospital. Oil companies in West Kordofan warned its' employees as another case identified in Alfola hospital. All the government efforts since then was meeting with Ethiopian authorities, attending a meeting in Tunisia, creating a kind of mechanism with DRC & CAR as well as implementing emergency measures in airports and keeping a blind eye on the fact that, there is a huge population mobility among the loose boarders of Sudan, specifically with West African countries. In North Darfur, there is a cluster of villages known as Korma, that is connected by a long trade route to Mali. While Algineana; the capital of West Darfur is well known for its perfumes and fabrics market, enriched with West African products from Nigeria, Ghana and other countries. Never mentioning the across boarder tribes that move all the way long with Chad and refugees movement between Central African Republic and Sudan. Basically; the population mobility to Sudan cannot be regulated neither Ebola could be controlled through controlling the airports. I might hear that there is no Ebola in Chad, Ghana, CAR and Nigeria is Ebola free (though it wasn't few weeks ago). The mentioned examples is to demonstrate that controlling Ebola through monitoring population mobility seems nearly impossible.

 Khalid Abdel Ati, a Sudanese pathologist told Sudanese Dream "The danger in Ebola outbreak extends beyond the high mortality rates to the destruction of the whole health system. Whenever there is case of Ebola discovered in a certain hospital; people would ban that hospital and hence might die as a result of complications of other health conditions. The health workers would be reluctant to provide medical care to any patients with hemorrhage of unknown cause. Never mentioning that the reagents to test the Ebola are not available in Sudan as well as the laboratory safety for handling suspected specimen is Level 4. Upon this circumstances, any case of hemorrhage should be handled as Ebola until proofed to be another condition"

The fact that Ebola cannot be tested in Sudan was confirmed by Dr. Hayat Salah, the head of Epidemiology department in the ministry of health in an interview with Alsaiha, a Sudanese daily newspaper on 27th, Oct 2014 issue.

Panic of Ebola spread widely among Sudanese social media users, specially after the news of an 8 years old child died of acute hemorrhage in Ibrahim Malik hospital in Khartoum. The Khartoum state ministry of health spokesperson Dr. Moez Albakheet stated that the girl died of severe Malaria, which for many Sudanese people who knew Malaria for decades was simply not convincing.

I think an Ebola emergency is waving on the air which is beyond any individual or voluntary groups capacity. Not having the means to verify a suspected case of Ebola is actually Ebola that doesn't mean an outbreak didn't and wouldn't happen. As a Sudanese citizen; I urge the government of Sudan to act immediately and do the following:

1. set out laboratories that could test Ebola in different parts of the country as soon as possible.
2. Launch massive health education programs through local media and door to door advises, the messages on the disease transmission and symptoms must be delivered as widely as possible. It should reach all the citizens in urban centres and IDP settings.
3. Take the necessary protective measures to health workers seriously. Patients shouldn't pay for the water and sanitation products when they need care in public hospitals. They should not be asked by health workers to bring water and soap, as its happening in many hospitals. This is your responsibility and obligation towards the health workers as well as the patients.

I'm demanding the government to act not because it represents me, neither many Sudanese people, but I assume at least some officials in the ministry of health might have sincere commitment to Abokrat's medical oath.



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