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CARE in Sudan: Providing lifesaving health care in one of the world's most dangerous environments

A medical assistant examines a malnourished child living in Al Salam IDP camp, Nyla, South Darfur. Photo: CARE International Sudan

A medical assistant examines a malnourished child living in Al Salam IDP camp, Nyla, South Darfur. Photo: CARE International Sudan

When war broke out on April 15, 2023 in Sudan, health services were severely disrupted in many parts of the country. Medical facilities were looted and destroyed, leading health care workers to run out of much-needed supplies.

In July, CARE managed to provide some of the necessary materials to health facilities in South Darfur, but it was difficult. With limited transportation options — no truck would accept the risk to make the trip — CARE and its team had to deliver medical supplies using public transportation and donkey.

The donkey cart CARE and its team used to deliver medical supplies. In Sudan, such carts are common for transporting goods and people, but it is increasingly difficult to travel during the ongoing conflict. Photo: UNAMID

South Darfur is one of the world’s most difficult places for health care workers. The CARE Sudan teams are operating under extreme pressure and dangerous circumstances to continue providing lifesaving critical health and nutrition services to the population in need.

Right now, CARE Sudan runs 14 health centers, nutrition facilities, and two stabilization centers in Nyala, Kass, Jebel Marra, and Bileil. CARE Sudan works through the State Ministry of Health staff and community leaders to ensure that health services are provided, despite the ongoing conflict.

“My daughter came down with a cough and had a fever,” says 36-year-old Amana. “I was not sure what to do as many of the clinics in Kass Kabeer were closed due to war. A neighbor informed me that CARE’s Mother and Child Health Center in the Al Khafah neighborhood is operational. The medical assistant examined my daughter and gave her some medicines for free. I was so happy about that, because I had no money.”

“Now my daughter is ok, and she started to play with her brothers and sisters again.”

“My child is suffering from malnutrition,” says 30-year-old Fatima. “I used to take him to get medical care and therapeutical feeding in the CARE Sudan clinic in Al Salam Internally Displaced People (IDP). When the war erupted, I was grateful that the clinic was still working. I bring my child every week for the nurse to examine him and verify that he has gained weight.”
Despite these efforts, problems persist.

A health promotion cadres educates lactating women on the importance of breastfeeding for children and hygiene at the AlKhfafa Maternity Clinic in Kass , South Darfur. Photo: CARE International Sudan

“We are deeply concerned that medical supplies are running out in the state,” said Farouk Mohammed, CARE International’s Health and Nutrition Manager in South Darfur.

“We need urgent solutions for safe transportation of drugs, therapeutical feeding, and other medical supplies into South Darfur and to the health facilities.”

South Sudan returnees who fled the violence in Sudan got airlifted by the government from Renk to Pariang. The returnees underwent health checkups and treatment undertaken by CARE South Sudan in collaboration with the South Sudan Ministry of Health. Photo: CARE International

Between April to June 2023, CARE Sudan reached 13,132 patients through the outpatients’ consultations at our health clinics in South Darfur. 3,145 children and pregnant women were vaccinated against childhood and maternity diseases such as polio, whooping cough, and Tetanus.

During the same period, 2,462 women received reproductive health services, and 25,338 persons were reached through nutrition services including the treatment of severe malnutrition, and detection of malnutrition in children.

A mother safely delivered in the CARE Sudan supported AlKhfafa Maternity Clinic in Kass, South Darfur. Photo: CARE International Sudan

CARE’s work in Health and Nutrition is possible thanks to generous donations by USAID, Global Affairs Canada, and the German Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung.

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