Africa: WHO Director-General's Remarks At the International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and Its Neighbours

A Sudanese mother and her children take refuge in a town in Chad across the border from Darfur in Sudan.

Your Excellencies,

I would like to start by thanking France, Germany and the European Union for hosting this important meeting,

You have heard today about the catastrophic death, displacement, destruction, and hunger in Sudan.

And yet the scale of this catastrophe far outstrips the international attention it deserves.

It makes me so sad, because it is personal to me because I have been close to Sudan all my life - not only that, but because I am from that restive region.

The sum of all of this is a profound health crisis - a crisis that could reverberate for generations.

At least 15,000 people have been killed in the fighting and almost 30,000 injured, and more are dying from disease and malnutrition.

Almost 15 million people need health assistance. Acute and chronic malnutrition are rampant.

The health system is under attack.

Officially, WHO has verified 62 attacks on health care, but this is just the tip of the iceberg because there is under reporting.

Today, 70% of health facilities are not working in hard-to-reach areas.

In many areas, pregnant women and new-born babies receive no care; no vaccinations for children; no medication for patients with cancer, diabetes or kidney and heart disease;

And outbreaks of cholera, dengue, malaria and measles continue.

Women and girls are especially vulnerable.

High rates of gender-based violence are being reported, including rape.

With your generous support, WHO and our partners have tried their best. But we're barely scratching the surface of need.

Lack of security, access and resources make our mission increasingly challenging.

So for today we need three things to save lives:

First, we need access, across borders and humanitarian corridors. Access especially through the Adre crossing with Chad is vital.

Second, we need attacks on health facilities to stop.

And third, we need funding. The health sector has less than 12% of the funds. But we urge to fully finance the UN and its agencies.

And finally, the best solution is peace. The focus should be that to end the war.

You have the leverage to push for peace and end the war.

I thank you. Merci beaucoup.

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