Mona Ellaithi. Sudan


29/05/2020

Mona Ellaithi holds a PhD in Human Genetics from Al-Neelain University/ Lübeck University-Sudan/Germany and is currently an Assistant Professor in Human Genetics at Al-Neelain University, Khartoum. She was part of the Science by Women programme and carried out her research at BioCruces. She worked on her project “Detection of common variants associated with Sudanese patients diagnosed with disorders of sexual development (DSDs) using NGS sequencing (Exome and Panel sequencing technology)”.

Scientist Mona Ellaithi forsee a worsening situation in Sudan

Mona Elahiti SudanSince the beginning of COVID-19 outbreak the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended certain protection measure to follow all around the world. Although of the effort made by the Federal Ministry of Health of Sudan; not all Sudanese followed these instructions. Some people dis-believed that the virus could be of such a great danger. Others claimed the government is over-reacting and there is political gain. However there are some Sudanese who their occupation depends on daily income and it is hard for them to follow the lockdown.  Furthermore, the Ministry of Internal Affairs didn’t stop mass gathering neither monitors that people movements during the lockdown hours.

Medical staff infected

According to the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health report on 29th of May 2020; the total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic are 4800 cases, among which 262 dead and 1272 recovered. 50% of the medical staff working in the isolation center in Khartoum are infected, two died due to complication from the virus infection. All COVID-19 ICU units and isolation centers are full. Therefore, new cases are asked to isolate themselves at home unless they develop critical symptoms. Some social media stated that there is a lack in medical care in some hospitals for patients who are not infected by COVID-19. These hospitals are not assigned to treat COVID-19 patients, however some time undiagnosed cases seek medical care in these hospitals unknowingly of their infection. As a result medical staffs catch the infection and hospital closes temporary for sanitization and medical staffs go to isolation.

The situation in some provinces is expected to be tragic

New cases are recorded every day in the different Sudan provinces. Some families lost more than one member after infection with COVID-19. The situation in some provinces is expected to be tragic. Darfur province already has Refugee camps as due to internal conflicts. I do not know what is the situation regarding COVID-19 health measures in these camps. Additional cases are expected in areas where there is lack of water and poor health environment.

To our surprise; only the National Health laboratory (NHL) is authorized to conduct COVID-19 diagnostic tests. This laboratory is located in Khartoum and all other provinces send the suspected samples to NHL. That could be the cause of delay in test results and in the high recorded cases in Khartoum. With the increase of suspected cases, the lab is now overwhelmed by the large number of samples. Thus, there is a great need for additional labs to help in testing the suspected cases. I believe with the addition of test labs in other provinces more cases will be diagnosed.

How can we minimize our expected loss?

The circle of infected people is closing and every day we knew about a relative or a friend who is infected. With the increase number of infected people we are heading towards disastrous outcome.

Now the main question for us as scientist “how can we minimize our expected loss”. Definitely we will need to stop mass gathering and follow social distance. As the rain season is approaching we need to find a way to provide medical supplies to some areas that could be isolated by float during the season.

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