Médecins Sans Frontières continued to improve and expand health services in Sudan in 2018, particularly for those displaced by violence within the country or across the border in South Sudan, and stepped up efforts to combat kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis), a neglected but potentially fatal tropical disease.
Sudan has the highest rate of kala azar in East Africa, and Al-Gedaref accounts for nearly 70 per cent of cases nationwide. We organise education and awareness-raising in the community, and support diagnosis and case management in two hospitals in the region. In 2018, we started training medical staff in facilities around the country, and prepared to launch a clinical trial set up by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative to find a less toxic, less painful and more effective treatment.
Our teams in Al-Gedaref also distributed relief kits in response to heavy rains and flash floods that affected over 220,000 people across much of Sudan, and made a donation of drugs to a local hospital. In neighbouring Kassala, we provided treatment and implemented infection control measures in local health facilities following an outbreak of chikungunya virus.
South Kordofan is an unstable conflict-affected region in southern Sudan, where approximately 180,000 internally displaced people have been registered and few international organisations are present. We opened a project in 2018, focusing initially on sexual and reproductive healthcare and establishing a level of emergency preparedness in the area.
In the gold-mining area of El Sireaf, where many people have been killed or injured in clashes between nomadic Arab tribes, we run maternity and inpatient services at a hospital for internally displaced people and offer primary healthcare at the nearby Garazawya health centre.
In 2018, we set up two mobile clinics to respond to the needs of displaced people returning to their homes in Tawila. Our teams continued to assist deliveries at the local hospital but handed our outpatient services over to the Ministry of Health.
We responded to a measles outbreak in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, treating more than 1,200 cases and vaccinating over 312,000 children aged under 15. The team in El Fasher also treated 15,000 people for malaria.
We provide outpatient and inpatient primary healthcare in Kario camp, in East Darfur, which hosts around 23,000 South Sudanese refugees. The facility serves refugees and the local Sudanese community. In 2018, we opened an inpatient therapeutic feeding centre and expanded the maternity ward.
We handed over our paediatric clinic in Krinding, West Darfur, to the Ministry of Health in early 2018, as planned
In Khor Wharal camp, we upgraded our emergency field hospital into a 90-bed secondary healthcare facility and began constructing another 60-bed hospital. In Kashafa camp, we run a 55-bed hospital which is also a referral point for the host community. Together, these projects benefit more than 100,000 South Sudanese refugees and local Sudanese.