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Sudanese officials call for health aid to Ethiopian refugees

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Over 25,000 Ethiopians have fled into Sudan, with numbers continuing to grow, including these families photographed on November 13, 2020 (AFP photo)November 24, 2020 (GADAREF) - Heath and university officials in the eastern Sudan border state of Gadaref are exerting efforts to contain diseases and epidemics, in the refugee camps after the massive arrival of Ethiopian fleeing the war between the federal army and Tigray region forces.

Over 45,000 Ethiopian have reached the Sudanese territory following the eruption of fighting in the Tigray region bordering Sudan. The humanitarian agencies expect that their number would be doubled in light of the continuing military escalation.

For her part, the Director-General of the Gadaref State Ministry of Health, Amira Hashim al-Gaddal, confirmed that there were cases of AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, as well as diabetes and blood pressure, among the refugees along with a large number of pregnant women.

Al-Gaddal further pointed to the high percentage of people infected with AIDS in the Ethiopian regions adjacent to the state of Gedaref compared to the Sudanese regions.

"The matter needs measures between the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization," she added.

The health official called for the establishment of isolation centres in refugee camps for the COVID-19 pandemic, and she expected an increase in HIV cases in the state of Gedaref.

She warned of the possible transmission and spread of epidemics, due to the interaction between the refugees and the residents and called on the UNHCR and aid groups to provide the needed health care for those who arrive in the camps.

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister refused international calls to end the fighting saying that his forces are carrying out an internal law enforcement operation.

The University of Gadaref announced a plan to coordinate efforts and conduct a survey in the refugee camps to reduce the negative impact of refugees’ displacement and to curb the spread of diseases and epidemics.

Secretary-General of Gadaref University Mutaz Abdel Rahim Abu Aqlah told the Sudan Tribune Tuesday that the plans were developed to facilitate humanitarian activities of local, regional and international organizations through the Colleges of Community Development and Medicine following the increasing number of Ethiopian refugees.

He pointed out that they have provided donors and aid groups with many technical studies and scientific researches as the Institute of Endemic Diseases at the Faculty of Medicine successfully conducted a number of researches on Klazar and other diseases. He also indicated that the coronavirus testing laboratory works efficiently.

(ST)

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