A surge in cholera cases in Sudan has prompted United Nations humanitarian workers and their partners to escalate their response efforts. While the situation continues to worsen, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported a 70% increase in cholera cases over the past three weeks.
Cholera Outbreak: A Growing Concern
According to the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), almost 5,200 suspected cholera cases, including more than 160 deaths, have been reported across nine states in Sudan since September 26. The cholera outbreak, which was declared in Gedaref, has now spread to 46 localities, signaling an urgent need for a comprehensive response.
Escalating the Response
The UN and its humanitarian partners, including WHO and UNICEF, are intensifying their efforts to curb the outbreak. These include support for the detection and treatment of cases, addressing water, sanitation, and hygiene issues, and administering nearly 2.2 million oral cholera vaccines in the worst-affected states. A global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccine is critically low, but Sudan received approval for around 2.9 million OCV doses. Of these, 2.2 million doses have already been used in vaccination campaigns.
The Impact of Conflict on Health Services
About two-thirds of Sudan's population lacks access to health care, a problem exacerbated by the ongoing conflict in the region. More than 70% of health facilities in conflict areas are out of service, and since the start of the war in April, the WHO has verified 60 attacks on health care in Sudan. This has significantly hampered efforts to contain the cholera outbreak and safeguard public health.