Following the unprecedented rains and floods that have affected 875,000 people across Sudan recently, a secondary health emergency is looming, with more than 4.5 million people at risk of vector-borne diseases.
Stagnant water pools are providing more breeding sites for mosquitoes that are vectors for viral haemorrhagic fever, chikungunya and malaria, where infections are increasing.
Malaria, for instance, reached epidemic levels in 15 out of 18 states by the end of September, with more than 1.1 million cases reported. In 2018, malaria accounted for about 9 per cent of deaths in hospitals across Sudan.
The UN, along with humanitarian partners, has procured and distributed 266 emergency health kits to support malaria treatment and other health needs, serving up to 2.7 million people for three months. However, there are significant shortages in malaria supplies to address the current infection levels, with difficulties in distributing medical supplies to some inaccessible areas due to the recent flooding.
Before COVID-19, the health system in Sudan had been weakened due to years of low funding, as well as lack of personnel and essential medicines.
Against this backdrop, the health sector component of the Sudan 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan has only received 19 per cent of funding requirements so far.
There is an urgent need to raise an estimated US$25 million to procure essential medicines and supplies to support preventative measures for vaccine-preventable, vector and water-borne diseases.
South Sudan: Threats against humanitarian workers
The Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for South Sudan, Mohamed Ag Ayoya, condemned in a statement today incidents against humanitarian workers and their activities in Renk, Upper Nile.
On 12 October, the Renk Youth Association demanded that humanitarian organizations re-assigned jobs from current staff from certain backgrounds to local people. When the demands were not met, the youth then insisted that all humanitarian activities be suspended and aid workers leave Renk immediately without their assets.
Following an increase in threats against humanitarians and attacks against office, accommodation and warehouse locations, almost 30 aid workers have relocated to the closest UN Mission in South Sudan base for their safety.
“Humanitarian workers are in Upper Nile to deliver life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people, including women, children, and older persons. Intimidating them and forcing humanitarian activities to suspend result in delays of this much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable people, and is unacceptable,” Mr. Ayoya said.
He acknowledged the constructive role played by the national authorities, who have advocated for the immediate institution of safety for humanitarian workers and the resumption of their programs.