- The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is a “high risk of biohazard” in a laboratory found in the ongoing conflict in Sudan.
- Officials said it was unclear who was behind the raid on the National Public Health Laboratory in the capital Khartoum.
- The city has been devastated by fighting between the army and the Rapid Support Force (RSF).
- The WHO told the BBC on Tuesday that staff could no longer access the laboratory.
- And he warned that the power outage made it impossible to properly manage the equipment in the laboratory.
- Officials said a wide range of biological and chemical materials are kept in the lab.
Where is the lab?
The laboratory is located near the center of Khartoum and not far from the city’s main airport.
It is just outside the area where the headquarters of the Sudanese army is located and where most of the fighting is taking place.
Khartoum’s specific geography means that key strategic targets, such as military installations, are close to key infrastructure.
The army headquarters and the airport are located near the residential area, with several schools and hospitals nearby.
Only a small part of health centers in Khartoum provide services due to lack of staff, medicine and other supply shortages, power outages or attacks.
The Ministry of Health of the Federation of Sudan reported that 36% of the health centers in the city of Khartoum are not working and 25% are not responding.
What did the WHO say?
Staff at the National Public Health Laboratory no longer have access to it. The power outage made it impossible to manage the facilities in the center.
Dr Nima Saeed Abid, the WHO representative in Sudan, expressed concern that “one of the warring parties” – he did not specify which – had taken control of Khartoum’s main health laboratory and “dismissed all the technicians”.
“It is very dangerous, it is very dangerous because we have polio patients in the laboratory. We have isolates of measles in the laboratory. We have cholera in the laboratory,” he said during the United Nations meeting in Geneva via video call from Port Sudan. serious biological risk associated with the occupation of the Central Public Health Laboratory in Khartoum by one of the warring parties.”
According to officials, various biological and chemical equipment are kept in the laboratory. In addition to measles and cholera parasites, they store other dangerous materials. With the power outage, the possibility of the blood bags, which are already shrinking, getting damaged has increased, reports the BBC.
Dismissal of technicians and power cuts in Khartoum mean it is “impossible to properly manage biological materials that are stored in laboratories for medical purposes”, the WHO said.