Children in Sudan are dying amid a healthcare system collapse, with up to 80% of hospitals in conflict-affected states not functional and millions of people in need of health assistance.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have reported that more than 1,200 children under five have died in camps in Sudan’s White Nile state from a combination of measles and malnutrition.
UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi has insisted that the world has “the means and the money” to prevent every one of those deaths, and has called for an end to the fighting and for more financial support for the emergency response in the country.
The UN’s 2023 Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan, launched in May, remains only 30% funded.
UNHCR has also reported over 3,100 suspected measles cases and more than 500 suspected cholera cases in Sudan from 15 May to 15 September, along with outbreaks of dengue and malaria.
The UN agency has pointed to a context of “increased epidemic risk” and challenges for epidemic control.
UNHCR’s Chief of Public Health, Allen Maina, has told reporters that the situation has “brought health care in the country to its knees”.
According to WHO, some 11 million people in Sudan require health assistance, including 3.4 million children under five who are acutely malnourished. Millions of people also require care for chronic diseases, including 8,500 patients in need of renal dialysis.
The lack of access to treatment and “relentless” attacks on health and nutrition services have also prompted an alert from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that “many thousands of newborns” will die in Sudan by the end of the year.
UNICEF spokesperson James Elder has highlighted the care needs for the 333,000 children who will be born in Sudan between October and December and their mothers. He has said that Sudan’s youngest citizens may be entering “a period of unprecedented mortality” and warned that there were more and more reports of children being recruited into armed groups.
Elder has also described the education crisis as 12 million Sudanese children waiting for schools to reopen.
He has paid tribute to the courage and resilience of Sudan’s frontline public service workers, saying that nurses, doctors, teachers, and social workers have not received a salary in months, while inflation in the country has run rampant.
“And yet they turn up to work,” he said, adding that their character and dedication “cannot restock supplies or repair blown up hospitals”.
Source: Daily News Egypt