Sudan: Providing Health Care Despite the Crises in South Kordofan and Abyei

Kadugli

Insecurity and movement restrictions limit humanitarian access in many parts of South Kordofan. The humanitarian community has proposed a three-day ceasefire to allow aid to reach affected communities and to relieve UN staff currently caught in Kadugli. As Health Cluster lead agency, WHO requested that all partners identify needed medicines and supplies in the health facilities they support so that these can be urgently transported once the ceasefire takes place.

According to OCHA, an estimated 73 000 people have been displaced since 5 June.

Between 7 and 18 June, the two health facilities serving IDPs around the UNMIS base recorded almost 9300 consultations, of which 60% were for children under five. The main complaints were diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections. Since 18 June, the improved water supply has reduced the rate of diarrhoea. However, overcrowding and the onset of the rainy season have raided the number of acute respiratory infections (ARI).

With limited staff on ground, WHO is supporting the health facilities providing services to the IDPs camped outside the UNMIS base.

The State hospital has resumed services during daytime and with low capacity. Hampered communication and movement prevent data collection from the hospital.

With support from WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA, the Sudan Red Crescent Society (SRCS) provided basic health services in most affected areas using prepositioned supplies. It has mobilized volunteers in Talody, Rashad and Dilling localities to provide first aid services and support health facilities. The SRCS also provides ambulance services for emergency cases referred to the UNMIS hospital. So far, 535 people have been referred for major surgery or obstetric care. Of these, 80% were children or women.

On 19 June, oxygen cylinders urgently needed in Kadugli were transported through UNMIS. WHO will provide basic emergency health supplies for 15 000 people for one month and 50 units of blood supply.

WHO is advocating for health promotion in the camps to better control preventable ill health and ensure that messages on basic personal hygiene, malaria and diarrheal diseases are disseminated ahead of the rainy season.

Abyei

The Health Cluster response to the Abyei crisis is well organized and available health supplies are sufficient in the areas of displacement in Southern Sudan. However, the response is hampered by fighting, the onset of the rainy season and mining of roads in Unity State. The response focuses on the delivery of primary health care to areas hosting displaced people, mostly through mobile units. WHO supports three mobile units with NGO partners providing services.

The early warning disease surveillance system (EWARN) shows that cholera is a major concern. The States affected by the conflict are particularly prone to waterborne diseases due to poor water supplies and inadequate sanitation in IDP settlement or host communities. However, vigilance is important as Southern Sudan is prone to other epidemic diseases such as meningitis, measles, malaria, leishmaniasis, anthrax and viral haemorrhagic fever. The EWARN also reported an increasing number of measles cases in Warrap and Unity.

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