While floodwater is receding in most of Sudan, cases of water-borne and vector-borne diseases start to increase across the country. The extensive damage to health facilities, the collapse of thousands of latrines, and damages or contamination of hundreds of water sources, increase the need for health services as well as the challenges to prevent and treat possible disease outbreaks.
People living in the areas affected are at heightened risk of developing water and vector-borne diseases due to unavailability of clean drinking water, sanitation, and vector-control measures. Over 10 million people are now at risk of developing water-borne diseases, and more than 4.5 million of contracting vector-borne disease, an increase of nearly 100 per cent if compared with April 2020.
Malaria cases have increased in seven localities of North Darfur and different parts of Sennar State. West Darfur reported nearly 100 cases of chikungunya, and hundreds of cases of viral haemorrhagic fever have been reported in Northern, River Nile, Kassala, Khartoum, Sennar and West Kordofan states.
Health partners have been working closely with the Government to support health services in the country. Even before the floods, and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, health partners have distributed medical supplies that cover the needs of around 1.2 million people. An additional 14 mobile clinics are supporting the response in Khartoum (four units) Blue Nile, North Darfur, Central Darfur, Red Sea and Kassala. At least 25 health assessments have been conducted, either as part of interagency efforts or in support of the states’ Ministry of Health. Partners have investigated nearly 130 alerts on communicable diseases.
WHO is supporting 13 states to carry out rainy season interventions, including capacity building, water quality monitoring, vector surveillance and vector-control measures.
WHO and UNICEF prepositioned kits across the country enough to treat 5,000 cases of cholera and 15,000 cases of acute watery diarrhoea.
In Blue Nile, partners, led by UNFPA, completed the rehabilitation of the Elmdina Rural Hospital, in Geisan Locality, to provide comprehensive and basic emergency services, including obstetrical care, to communities in Geisan and Wad Al Mahi localities.
The available stock has rapidly declined, with most partners reporting lack of essential medicines in their storage facilities. WHO and UNICEF have supplies in the pipeline, but not yet in the country. There is need for further support of disease surveillance and rapid response teams, and gaps remain in vector control and water safety monitoring. Funding is a major challenge. Health Sector partners received only 15 per cent of the US$110 million requested for health services this year in Sudan. This represents less than half of the total received in 2019.