As the conflict in Sudan enters its sixth month on 15th October, the humanitarian situation is dire, especially in the health sector. With less than 30% of health facilities in the country operational, and disease outbreaks on the rise, many people continue to be exposed to preventable diseases with deadly outcomes.
David Macdonald, CARE Sudan Country Director said, “The ongoing conflict is having a catastrophic impact on already traumatized communities, more so women and children. Medical centers are facing unprecedented challenges, as supplies are critically low, and this is endangering the health and well-being of the country’s vulnerable populations. This situation is worsened by the difficulties humanitarian workers face in delivering much-needed aid to the health centers.”
As the number of Internally displaced increases, Sudanese health officials report that there are close to 1,000 cholera cases in Gedaref, Eastern Sudan, and Khartoum that have resulted in over 50 fatalities. Malnutrition and measles among children under five have already led to the death of over 1,200 children. Cases of malaria and dengue fever are also going up.
CARE International in Sudan has resorted to finding unusual ways to get medicine and nutrition supplies to some of the hardest-hit regions. In Darfur, horse-drawn carts and tuk-tuks (motorized rickshaws) are being used to resupply health centers and hospitals, as the use of trucks is still a challenge. This has offered a little respite to some of the affected communities. As Fatima, a mother based in East Darfur shared: “My daughter was sick and looked too small and with the ongoing conflict, most health clinics were closed. I was worried and unsure what to do as traveling is dangerous due to fighting. I finally got my daughter to a CARE-supported center where she was examined and diagnosed with malnutrition and had to be hospitalized for treatment.”
Humanitarian agencies are working to provide assistance, but their efforts are hindered by the conflict. Urgent action is needed to ensure the safety of healthcare providers and humanitarian actors, the delivery of essential medical supplies, and the restoration of access to healthcare for the people of Sudan.
“The situation in Darfur is reaching a critical juncture, as millions are continually being displaced and in desperate need of medical care. Over 333,000 children are expected to be born in Sudan between October and December. With limited access to skilled midwives, acute medical supplies shortages, and continuous conflict, the humanitarian situation could worsen. It is imperative that the international community does not forget about Sudan and continues to support humanitarian organizations that are doing everything they can for those affected by the violence,” said David Macdonald.
CARE Sudan has reached 805,723 people across six states since the conflict started, with water, sanitation services, cash transfers, and agricultural assistance. Of these, over 166,000 individuals have received health and nutrition services in 83 centers where CARE operates alongside some of our partners such as Al Manar and Sudan Assistant for Development Organization (SADO). The health centers are also receiving vaccines to support immunization against measles. CARE continues to call for the protection of civilians, access for humanitarian workers to supply aid to the most vulnerable, and increased funding to support the ongoing response.