Sudan: North Darfur Hospitals Overwhelmed As Malaria, Dengue Surge

Heavy rainfall in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, destroyed dozens of houses (file photo).
20 September 2023

El Fasher — Doctors in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher have voiced concern at the rising tide of malaria cases, especially among children. Hospitals in the city report being overwhelmed by hundreds of cases daily. This is exacerbated by undercapacity, as the large El Fasher Teaching Hospital has been closed due to the war, and is now reportedly serving as a military barracks.

Heavy rains have left standing water across the region, which are an ideal breeding place for mosquitoes, the main vector for malaria and dengue fever. The Babiker Nahar Children's Hospital recorded 400 cases of malaria out of a total of 600 patients on Monday, Dr Mohamed Osman told Radio Dabanga. He praised the efforts of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in providing medicines for malaria, watery diarrhoea, and perfusion salts, in addition to providing doctors and specialists in paediatrics.

The Southern El Fasher Hospital confirmed a significant increase in malaria cases. The hospital receives more than 350 cases daily, and also reported the emergence of dengue fever. Two cases were hospitalised.

A patient at the hospital, Abeer Adam told Radio Dabanga that "the place is more than overcrowded, and a large number of patients are waiting to be seen by a doctor". She said that health care "is difficult to find", especially after the larger El Fasher Teaching Hospital had to close its doors because of the clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)in the city. "The hospital has been turned into military barracks."

A relative of hers criticised the absence of the North Darfur Ministry of Health, "especially as El Fasher has become a destination for people who fled the fighting in Nyala in South Darfur, and nearby Kutum and Tawila".

Health sources in Um Rawaba, North Kordofan, also reported an outbreak of malaria cases. Two cases of dengue fever were recorded earlier. The situation at Um Rawaba Hospital is deteriorating. People told Radio Dabanga from the town: "Treatment has become very expensive and there are hardly medicines left."

The area has been experiencing poor water provision and power cuts for three weeks. The RSF troops are still roaming the town, they said.

SAF-RSF clashes in Um Rawaba led to the closure of the town's market and widespread panic at the beginning of August. The tensions prompted authorities in North Kordofan to announce a state-wide curfew and motorcycle ban on August 3.

Dengue fever cases also have been reported from El Gedaref in eastern Sudan. Health sources in El Gedaref yesterday reported dozens of cases of acute watery diarrhoea. Five patients died.


As reported earlier today by Radio Dabanga, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are sounding the alarm on the deteriorating health situation in Sudan which already claimed thousands of lives. The latest FEWS-NET report warns that the agricultural yield in Sudan this year will be significantly reduced.

Since May, more than 1,200 children under the age of five died in Sudanese refugee camps due to measles outbreaks and severe malnutrition, the UNHCR team in White Nile state reported in a press release on Tuesday.

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