Sudanese refugees in Chad face health and hunger crisis


The humanitarian crisis at the Chadian border town of Adré, has left Sudanese refugees grappling with widespread illness and malnutrition. Cases of diarrhoea and malnourishment, particularly among children who escaped the war-torn areas of Darfur, have been reported by an initiative led by Sudanese refugee doctors.

Dr Mawaheb Younis, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology and a key member of the initiative, has highlighted a number of contributing factors to the health crisis, which include the lack of food, deteriorating environmental conditions, and inadequate access to proper sanitation facilities.

To address the scarcity of healthcare facilities, 22 field clinics have been established in four new refugee reception camps in Adré. Some of these clinics operate under Doctors Without Borders (MSF), while others are run by local charities and Sudanese refugee doctors. The need for these clinics arose due to Adré Hospital’s inability to effectively accommodate all cases, as Dr Younis explained.

Although the field clinics primarily focus on treating injuries and fractures, they face challenges in meeting the needs of patients with chronic illnesses. Despite the ongoing efforts, Sudanese refugees continue to arrive in Adré from the states of South and North Darfur, with the clinics having already performed about 20 operations to treat people with gunshot-related fractures in recent weeks. Some critical cases have been transferred to hospitals in Abéché and N’Djamena.

Beyond the pressing physical health challenges, the refugees also grapple with profound psychological impacts resulting from experiences like rape, physical assault, and other violations. Despite surveys conducted to assess their needs, the tangible psychological support for the refugees remains insufficient.

‘Alarming deterioration’

The Federal Ministry of Health recognised the alarming deterioration of the health system in the Darfur region, particularly Central and West Darfur.

Sudan’s Federal Minister of Health Haitham Mohamed met with Darfur Health Minister Babiker Mohamedin on Tuesday, to discuss the challenges of delivering medical supplies to the region.

The meeting emphasised the importance of joint coordination between the government and international, national, and UN organisations to ensure effective supply deliveries through collaborative mechanisms. Urgent measures were recommended, including support for the internal health system in the region and the expedited provision of supplies before the rainy season.

Babiker Mohamedin, the minister of health and social welfare in Darfur, expressed concerns over the region’s extremely complex health situation. He pointed out that the security conditions have hindered the arrival of medical supplies and personnel, leading to a decline in health services.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Darfur region has acted by initiating the distribution of medicine and food aids to various health centres and hospitals in different areas of North Darfur. An inspection tour led by the Governor of Darfur Minni Minawi revealed the dire conditions faced by North Darfur residents.

As part of the first aid measures, the ministry distributed food aids, including rice, flour, oil, and sugar, with plans to extend aid distribution to all regions in Darfur. The ministry has engaged with numerous humanitarian organisations to promptly address the plight of the displaced and refugees, particularly those seeking refuge in the Adré region.

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