Home | News    Tuesday 8 June 2004

Health aspects of the humanitarian crisis in western Sudan

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

KHARTOUM, June 7, 2004 (WHO) — Internal conflict has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis in the Greater Darfur Region, Sudan, with more than one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) requiring assistance in more than 124 different locations. Host communities are suffering too. The United Nations estimates that as many as two million people are affected.

Because of a poor road network as well as insecurity along routes, not all IDP communities are accessible. Access has improved in recent weeks, but assessments of conditions in different IDP camps are grim, all indicating severe lack of food, water, health care and shelter. As IDP camps grow, so does the pressure on the health system, which is poor even at the primary level. Secondary and tertiary health care is practically non-existent outside of the state capitals.

The lack of primary health care particularly affects the most vulnerable groups: children under five and those separated from their families, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and the elderly. These groups make up the majority of IDPs.

With few hospitals working, many people lack access to health care and cannot get treatment for diseases such as malaria, measles, pneumonia and cholera. Lack of reproductive health care is also a huge concern, adding to maternal and child mortality. Urgent measures to address the physical and psychological needs of women, many of whom have reportedly been raped, are vital.

A major health concern is the lack of sanitation and safe, potable water at IDP camps. Assessments carried out by experts from WHO’s Regional Centre for Environmental Health Activities in Amman show that most water sources are under-chlorinated, household containers are contaminated, latrines are inadequate and environmental conditions are anything but satisfactory. It is estimated that only 12% of the potable water needed is currently available. Such poor conditions have led to a rise in mortality, with instances of daily under-five mortality rates of 6.8 per 10 000. The main causes of death are acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, and malnutrition.

The situation is becoming even more critical as the rainy season sets in. Some camps will become unreachable and there will be an increased possibility of malaria and cholera outbreaks. A major increase in human resources, medical supplies, food, shelter and funds is essential to meet even the most basic needs. For health, the most urgent priorities are strengthening the provision and delivery of primary health care, establishing and/or rehabilitating health facilities in remote areas, and providing medical supplies and equipment. These are needed to respond to injuries associated with the conflict and obstetric emergencies, and to ensure safe blood transfusions.

WHO, along with other health partners, is working to scale-up interventions and presence in the Greater Darfur Region. Apart from deploying medical staff, equipment and supplies, WHO has been working tirelessly in recent months on:

- Disease surveillance and outbreak response - through an early warning system (EWARN);

- Measles vaccination campaign - the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO, and partners are launching a measles vaccination campaign targeting 2.15 million children in the Greater Darfur Region starting in mid-June 2004;

- Environmental health - WHO is supporting 172 environmental health workers to ensure that vector control, waste disposal and health promotion are in place for 310 000 people in four locations;

- Health sector coordination - In response to a request from the Government of Sudan, WHO is helping to oversee international support for public health in Darfur and coordinating the health component of a six-month UN contingency plan for the rainy season in Darfur;

- Norms and guidelines - WHO is playing an increasing role in providing norms and guidelines for health partners operating in the Greater Darfur Region on malaria, cholera, and epidemiological surveillance.

The Greater Darfur Region in western Sudan covers approximately 510 000 square kilometers (an area the size of France). The inhabitants of this harsh environment, consisting mostly of arid land, are subsistence farmers and nomadic pastoralists. Out of the 6.7 million people in this region, almost half are between six and 24 years of age. Poor and underdeveloped compared to the rest of Sudan, the Greater Darfur Region has been underserved in terms of health services, with no investment reportedly made in health care since 1990. Infant mortality is about 120 per 1000.

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


World’s newest nation has unprecedented opportunity to end sexual violence in conflict 2014-10-17 21:34:44 By Zainab Hawa Bangura October 17, 2014 - As United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, I completed my first trip to South Sudan last (...)

Celebrate the golden jubilee of the October 1964 Sudanese revolution 2014-10-17 21:34:32 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman October 17, 2014 - Despite the dearth and lack of what needs celebration and rejoice in the reign of the National Congress Party (NCP) regime led by the tyrant genocidal (...)

Sudan, Iran, the Obama Administration, and Khartoum’s political vision" 2014-10-16 09:05:01 More about what we learn from the leaked minutes of the August 31 meeting bringing together Khartoum's most senior military and security officials By Eric Reeves October 15, 2014 - The document (...)


MORE








Latest Press Releases


Sudan Democracy First Group condemns wave of arbitrary arrests in Sudan 2014-09-25 05:17:35 Sudan Democracy First Group 25 September 2014 - In a desperate attempt to prevent a series of events commemorating the victims of the September 2013 protests, Sudan’s notorious National (...)

HRW calls on UN rights body to press Sudan to investigate murder of peaceful protesters 2014-09-24 21:24:09 Human Rights Watch One Year On, No Justice for Protester Deaths (Geneva, September 23, 2014) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should call on Sudan to account immediately for the death (...)

Hundreds walk for peace in South Sudan 2014-09-23 08:30:16 National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR) PRESS RELEASE Juba, 21 September 2014 - Hundreds of people took to the streets of the South Sudan capital Jubato ‘Walk for Peace’and demand (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2014 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.