UN raises alarm over child deaths in Sudan as health crisis deepens. According to United Nations (U.N.) organizations, more than 1,200 children have died in Sudanese refugee camps from suspected measles and starvation, and thousands more, including newborns, are at risk of passing away before the end of the year.
They said that more than five months into a struggle between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, the country’s healthcare system is in shambles because of direct combatant strikes and a lack of personnel and supplies.
In nine camps in White Nile state, which is home to one of Sudan’s largest refugee populations, more than 1,200 children from Ethiopia and South Sudan under the age of five have died since May, according to Dr. Allen Maina, head of public health at the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), who was speaking at a U.N. briefing in Geneva.
He continued, saying that partners were having trouble immunizing refugees, increasing the risk of epidemics. “Unfortunately we fear numbers will continue rising because of strained resources,” he said.
In addition, he said, dengue and malaria outbreaks, 3,100 suspected measles cases, and 500 cholera cases have all been reported around the nation in the same time frame.
In the same briefing, a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that since the start of the war, there have been 56 verifiable attacks on Sudan’s healthcare system, and 70% to 80% of hospitals in conflict zones are currently inoperable.
The U.N. Organization for Children (UNICEF) expressed concern that among the 333,000 babies believed to be due before the end of the year, “many thousands of newborns” will perish.
They require expert delivery care, as do their moms. However, such care is becoming less and less possible daily in a nation where millions are either fled or imprisoned in conflict zones and where there is a severe lack of medical supplies, according to UNICEF spokesperson James Elder at the same press event.
Around 55,000 children in Sudan need treatment for the most severe form of malnutrition each month. Yet, according to him, only one in fifty nutrition centers are operational in the capital, Khartoum, and one in ten in West Darfur.