Sudan: Health Minister Bahar Idris Abugarda briefed the parliament about the spread of the “acute water diarrhoea” epidemic in the country. New cholera cases were reported in the country’s capital, White Nile state, and North Kordofan. The Minister told the parliament in a session organised by the Committee on Health, Environment, and Population, that between August 2016 and May 2017 the Ministry recorded 14,659 people infected with watery diarrhoea. 292 patients died. The Sudanese health authorities still refer to “watery diarrhoea” cases, though Sudanese medics have confirmed that the disease is cholera. Mentioning the infectious disease by its real name is not allowed in Sudan. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has repeatedly warned the press in the country not to cross this “red line”. In April, an eastern Sudanese journalist was detained for reporting about cholera. Cholera “seems to be a stigma for the government,” a UK-based Sudanese specialist told Radio Dabanga in January. “Yet raising the awareness among communities about preventing cholera is crucial to containing a cholera outbreak.” On 25 May, a group of young people gathered in front of the Sudanese Ministry of Health in Khartoum and demanded the government to acknowledge the cholera epidemic. Cholera is a fast-developing, highly contagious infection that can spread in areas without clean drinking water and with poor sanitation.

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