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Severe medical needs persist amidst conflict in Sudan
Since 15 April, intense fighting has been taking place between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan. Medecins Sans Frontieres’ (MSF) medical coordinator in Khartoum, Dr Khalid Elsheikh Ahmedana, speaks about the situation on the ground and his visit to the Turkish hospital in the capital, one of five hospitals where we have provided medical supplies.
“The health system in Sudan is very weak in general, but since the recent violence started, it is now in a critical situation. There is a lack of healthcare staff and a serious lack of supplies. Seventy per cent of the hospitals are now closed.
Some medical facilities have transferred patients from hospitals closer to the conflict to hospitals that are safer. Some of these are specialist hospitals, but due to the current situation, they have added surgery and started to receive emergency cases.
We are witnessing a high number of patients suffering from conditions that are not related to violence. Many patients don’t have access to health facilities or medication. Others are in need of dialysis, treatment for heart disease, cancer and haemophilia.
Some people are also suffering from water shortages, which could create a setting for epidemics. Malaria and dengue fever have existed here for a long time even before the war, and they will continue to be present. There is also a risk of environmental health. There are dead bodies outside, and there is no waste management. Rubbish is gathering along with flies and mosquitoes.
During our visit to the Turkish hospital – we saw that the staff have added surgical capacity to the facility, including 20 to 30 beds for the war-wounded patients.
Three days before our visit, the hospital received a large number of casualties – around 60 patients and three dead people. The hospital is performing around five to eight surgeries per day depending on the intensity of the violence.
Most of the doctors who are working in the hospitals are volunteers: surgeons, medical doctors, nurses, and some people from the community trying to assist. So far, they have been able to cope with the number of surgeries. However, there is insufficient medication needed to cope with the number of caesarean sections and patients in the delivery ward. Meanwhile, the neonatal ward has had to close due to the lack of capacity.”