Neglected tropical diseases remain one of the key issues in global poverty and all low income nations, including Sudan. Still endemic in Sudan are nine of 17 globally recognized NTDs, some of the most devastating of which are helminth infections, cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis. All are preventable with hygienic living conditions, vector control, and sufficient nourishment. The World Health Organization in Khartoum dedicates a significant amount of resources to the control of NTDs.
Part of what leaves people vulnerable to NTDs is political upheaval. An interruption of government processes (including health care and sanitation), violence which leaves people afraid to go out of the house, and in extreme situations, refugees and displaced people can create or worsen circumstances for NTDs to thrive. For the past three months, the Sudanese people have been peacefully protesting against the government. Although they have been faced with violent suppression and police brutality, on the morning of April 11, Omar al Bashir was arrested and is now no longer president. Unfortunately, the political upheaval in the past and coming months may make the job of the WHO much more difficult. In the next week, I hope to observe the public health plan of the immediate future for a country in turmoil.