Sudan’s Healthcare on Brink Amid Fighting & Targeted Attacks on Medical Workers, Hospitals Worldwide - Democracy Now!

[A] humanitarian crisis [is] unfolding in Sudan as the healthcare system there is collapsing after two months of fighting across Sudan between the army and the Rapid Support Forces. Volunteers and aid workers are struggling to keep critical healthcare running, but the Sudan Doctors Trade Union says less than a third of hospitals in Sudan’s conflict zones are still open. Many have been targeted by fighters. Those that continue to operate face cuts to power and water and a lack of staff, medicine and dialysis supplies. Reports also show, since the outbreak of the conflict in April, rape survivors are struggling to access emergency contraception and abortion medication because a warehouse with nearly 50,000 post-rape medical kits has been cut off.

This comes as a new report from the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition concluded 2022 was the worst year for attacks against healthcare facilities and personnel worldwide in the last decade. The report found a 45% increase in reported incidents of violence against or obstruction of healthcare in conflict zones as compared to 2021, including in Sudan. Over half the documented attacks were in two countries: Ukraine and Burma [also known as Myanmar].

[Sudanese doctor Khidir Dalouk:] [“Sudanese] healthcare professionals and providers are facing gunfire every day to reach to work and to their houses. They’re completely burned out. They’re not able to provide to their families, because they have not had any salaries for months now. So, it’s not comprehendible, the way they’re working. And their safety is our biggest concern. They have been deliberately targeted. Since the conflict, hospitals have been targeted. Almost 21 of our healthcare colleagues have lost their lives. A few days ago, one of our colleagues — he’s a neurosurgeon — he lost his life while he was on duty serving in a hospital called best hospital in Khartoum.[”]

[Christina Wille, director of Insecurity Insight (which contributed to the aforementioned report):] ["]In Ukraine, some 11% of the health infrastructure has been damaged. And in Myanmar, the devastation is in so many areas, through so many different ways, from arresting health workers, from the coup government bombing its own civilians. It is really, really close to unimaginable for people who live in more secure places, the extent of the violence that occurs. And these are the two countries where most events have been documented. But in total, we covered 42 countries, and it is so widespread and such a common problem in conflict.

We’ve seen it in Syria, hospitals being deliberately bombed. We’ve seen it as far back as in Chechnya in 1996, when Russian forces attacked an [International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)]-run hospital. So, it definitely is nothing — unfortunately, nothing new. But we’re also seeing it in many other countries. And it may also be worth to note that the Wagner forces in Africa have also been attacking health systems in the Central African Republic, for example.["]

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Democracy Now!

Events: 2023 Sudan Conflict Russo-Ukrainian War 

Locations: Sudan Ukraine Myanmar (Burma) Syria Central African Republic 

Organizations: Sudanese Armed Forces Rapid Support Forces Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition Insecurity Insight Wagner Group International Committee of the Red Cross 

People: Khidir Dalouk Christina Wille 

Tags: Healthcare Humanitarian Crisis War Sexual Assault Sexual Violence 

Type: Headlines