In 2019, Sudan was shaken by a popular uprising, ending 30 years of Omar al-Bashir’s rule over the country. The ongoing economic crisis, which contributed to sparking the revolution, continued to worsen an already precarious situation, especially for vulnerable populations, including women, children, refugees and internally displaced persons. Based on UN estimates, in 2021, 13.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, 40% more than in 2020 (9.3 million). With limited immunization coverage, and functional water and sanitation infrastructure, diseases and epidemics are common, endangering livelihoods and causing unnecessary deaths. The chronic lack of investment, natural disasters, extreme weather events, including seasonal flooding, have weakened an already fragile health and education system.
Description of the mission
During Omar Al Bashir’s regime, humanitarian access was significantly restricted, several International Humanitarian Organizations were either expelled or forced to leave the country. As the transitional government is trying to re-establish relations with the international community, allowing more humanitarian aid to come in, Première Urgence Internationale returned to Sudan in 2020, launching health and nutrition activities in South Kordofan, a mountainous region, close to the border with South Sudan. South Kordofan and the Nuba Mountains region has been confronted with years of conflict, isolation and neglect by public services, particularly in terms of health. Only 55% of the state’s health facilities are still functioning at limited level. In the Eastern part of the country, in November 2020, following fighting in Tigray region in Ethiopia, around 60,000 Ethiopian refugees, crossed the border in neighboring Sudan in search of safety. In June 2021, Première Urgence Internationale launched health and nutrition activities in support to existing health facilities in the surroundings of refugee camps, supporting local communities, refugees and asylum seekers.
Premiere Urgence Internationale in action
In South Kordofan, Première Urgence Internationale, in partnership with Triangle Génération Humanitaire (TGH), is implementing an integrated strategy to address the needs of hard-to-reach populations in Abassiya District. Première Urgence Internationale is working to restore sustainable health care coverage, while providing life-saving health and nutrition services, building on the incredible resilience demonstrated by the people of South Kordofan and their willingness to rebuild their lives, after years of conflict and isolation. To reduce mortality and morbidity from preventable diseases and outbreaks, Première Urgence Internationale ensures that populations have access to the minimum primary health care package – including immunization, nutrition, maternal and reproductive health services. Première Urgence Internationale ‘s intervention is currently focusing on three health centers counting on the support of 45 engaged and dedicated community health volunteers, conducting screenings for malnutrition, raising awareness on health education, best practices and services provided at the health facility.
In Gedaref state, through the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Première Urgence Internationale is intervening in Al Mafaza locality, hosting about 20,000 refugees, providing primary health and nutrition services to both refugees and host communities through two health facilities. Thanks to the support of the Italian Cooperation (AICS) and in partnership with Solidarités Internationale, Première Urgence Internationale supports four additional health facilities in remote and hard-to-reach areas, in Basonda and Al Fashaga localities, along the border with Ethiopia, providing life-saving health and nutrition services, aiming to contribute to peaceful coexistence and to the spirit of generosity and hospitality, demonstrated by Sudanese and host communities in border areas.
Moving forward, Première Urgence Internationale aims to expand activities in both South Kordofan and Gedaref states, building on existing capacities and partnerships, reaching out to communities, to strengthen their resilience, technical capacities and willingness to build a more peaceful and sustainable future.