Sudan: “anemia, malaria and diarrhea, these sickness use to kill our children before but this is not the case now since we have access to free medication”
The community of Banat in Sudan, like many other communities in South Kordofan Eastern Corridor living in the proximities of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) controlled areas has been greatly affected by decades of conflict and isolation.
Nawal and her child Ibrahim Abdul Amid Adam adged of 2 years and 9 months old have been approached by Health Community Volunteers of Première Urgence Internationale to reffer her child to Banat Health Facility because he was ill.
Nawal and her son Ibrahim Abdul Amid Adam l © Alamin Abdul Rahim Alamin Babkir | Première Urgence Internationale
The conflict and ongoing socio-political and economic crisis has left the health system unable to meet even the most basic and life-saving needs of communities, especially in remote and hard-to-reach areas. Access to maternal and child health is one of the major health problems in the region, leading to some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the Region, lack of essential medicines at the health facilities and distance to the closest hospital in Al Abassiya, located about 4 hours walking distance from Banat village, among others are the major challenges facing this community.
Première Urgence Internationale supports 3 health facilities in the Al Abbassiya locality in South Kordofan in the provision of primary health care services, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health, supported by the Centre De Crise et Soutien (CDCS). This includes medical consultations and treatment of common illnesses, immunizations, management of acute malnutrition in children under 5 years, reproductive health services, support to patients needing referral to the hospital, communicable diseases surveillance, health, and nutrition promotion activities, through community health volunteers.
The importance of community health volunteers in Sudan
‘‘Two Health Community Volunteers of Première Urgence Internationale came to my home to talk to me. They came on a day when my child was sick with severe Anemia and diarrhea. The Première Urgence Internationale Health Community Volunteers referred my child to Banat Health Facility’’ said Nawal. Nawal also had a medical condition –suffering from goiter, resulting in swallowing in her throat, for which she is now receiving medical support. When she heard about the health facility providing free services, she decided to go seek medical help for her severe anemic child and herself.
In the 3 supported health facilities by the ONG, Première Urgence Internationale ensures the referral of patients needing emergency care at the hospital, by covering the transportation costs to Al Abbassiya hospital. Most of the referred cases are pregnancies with complications and children under 5 years of age suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition.
Free medical services
During the sessions of the interview, Nawal said that she had never attended any antenatal care for all her pregnancy, she had never received any kind of support from any organization either for herself or whenever her children fell sick. She recalled an incident whereby a second-born child passed away, due to a lack of money to pay for medical services or transportation to reach the hospital, a few years back. Nawal is happy that now other women can benefit from the support of Première Urgence Internationale in the village. ‘We now receive free medical services in the health facility supported by Première Urgence Internationale in our village which provides medicine for common sicknesses like Anemia, malaria and diarrhea, these sickness use to kill our children before but this is not the case now since we have access to free medication‘. She continued, ‘the referral support is even helping us more, because, like me, I don’t need to worry anymore about where to get money for food and transportation, in case I need to bring my child to the hospital. Local vehicle owners will bring me to the hospital because they know, Première Urgence Internationale will cover my transportation cost. What Première Urgence Internationale is doing now is lifesaving’’ Joyful said Nawal. Nawal is one of the many beneficiaries who have received financial support to facilitate her transport cost from Heath Facility to Al Abassiya Hospital to seek further medical care.
Nawal and her son Ibrahim Abdul Amid Adam and Jodatallah l © Alamin Abdul Rahim Alamin Babkir | Première Urgence Internationale
Maintaining humanitarian support in South Kordofan
‘‘I feel so proud of our work and I am happy that I am directly in the front line of providing these life-saving services to this community. Our Field Coordinator, James always tell us that if we want to enjoy our humanitarian work, we should engage more with beneficiaries and ask them to tell us their story, indeed he was right’’ said Jodatallah, Première Urgence Internationale Deputy Project Manager for South Kordofan State, he continued, listening to Nawal brought me a lot of joy, knowing how much of an impact our work is having on the communities that we serve’’ concluded Jodatallah.
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