Sudan's tropical disease spike reflects poor health system
The two Sudanese women thought they had malaria and were taking their medication, but things took a dire turn. Both complained of a splitting headache and fever that didn't respond to the anti-malaria treatment. By the time she was diagnosed with dengue fever, Raqiya Abdsalam was unconscious.
"Soon after they examined me, I fell into a coma," she said, recounting her ordeal some three months ago. Both women have since recovered and are at home in the city of El Obeid in the central province of North Kordofan.
For decades, Sudan's underfunded public health sector has struggled to effectively diagnose or treat patients as significant government spending went to its vast security services. A recent spike in mosquito-borne diseases - such as dengue fever and malaria - has underscored the fragility of the African country's health system, boding ill for future challenges driven by climate change.
Sudan's best-equipped hospitals are concentrated in the capital, Khartoum, leaving those from far-flung provinces reliant on aid projects. But many of those have disappeared.