Inflammation and stories on Sudan

Health Care CollapseOn April 15, 2023, conflict erupted again between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces, resulting in more than 400 deaths and a further 3,700 injured. The health care system in Sudan is under immense strain and could collapse as it tries to cope with the casualties.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 11 million people require health care assistance in Sudan, and 80% of hospitals in conflict-affected areas are no longer functional due to the violence, destruction and interruption to access deliveries and essential resources. Since April, the WHO has found more than 50 attacks targeting health facilities, transport, health workers and patients.

To help with this health care collapse and to relieve the pressure on the health care system in Sudan, Doctors and humanitarian aid organizations have come forward to offer their critical skills and help with the crisis.

The Doctorbase App Helps Those in Need of Urgent Care

Ahmed Mujtaba runs the innovative health app y. It was created to provide health care advice to address existing issues such as poverty, with the poverty rate steadily rising from 32.2% in 2022 in Sudan. When war broke out, the app had an influx of people seeking desperate help as the violence escalated and more people were displaced. In response, dozens of doctors worldwide have signed up to advise those needing medical help, teach essential medical aid, offer potential diagnoses and direct people to the nearest functional medical facility. 

Doctors Without Borders Rapidly Respond to the Crisis

Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has worked relentlessly across Sudan to help those in need by providing emergency trauma care to those wounded. It created mobile clinics as hospitals were destroyed and provided clean drinking water to those displaced all over the country. The logistics team delivered fuel and critical supplies to the remaining hospitals.

The organization deployed a specialist surgical team to Bashair Teaching Hospital, performing 587 essential procedures in July. It also treated thousands of children for malnutrition. Since April, around 50,000 children with acute malnutrition have had their treatment disrupted due to the conflict, aggravated by a sharp decline in international aid.

WHO’s Public Health Expert Stays Behind to Offer Critical Assistance

The World Health Organization’s Sudanese public health expert, Dr. Nader Makki, stayed behind voluntarily amid the crisis to offer his critically needed specialist support. Political insecurity, fuel shortages and a lack of internet access have exacerbated the strain on the health care system in Sudan. Still, Makki has been facing these challenges with more than 18 years of experience in humanitarian settings behind him.

After relocating his family to a safe place, he helped set up the World Health Organization Emergency Hub in Gezira. He coordinated emergency response, negotiated, led supply distribution and provided technical and strategic support.

While the future of the health care system in Sudan remains uncertain and many remain at risk, these doctors and organizations will continue to work tirelessly to provide desperately needed health care.

– Maia Winter 
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in SudanOn September 9, 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched a new plan to tackle hunger in Sudan. The Emergency Livelihood Response Plan (ELRP) for Sudan will support Sudanese individuals affected by the ongoing civil war.

To fight hunger in Sudan, the FAO will boost agricultural prosperity in the distribution of supplies, including seeds and treatment equipment for livestock. The plan aims to support 10.1 million people in Sudan and claims it will require $123 million in funding to implement over the next 12 months. 

Food Security in Sudan

The food situation in Sudan has worsened since the outbreak of war on April 15, 2023, when the Sudanese Armed Forces clashed with the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum. Violence and resulting displacement have significantly impacted the country’s food supply system, which has led to hunger and malnutrition within Sudanese communities. 

With a population of 48.6 million, more than 20 million (42% of Sudanese) are thought to be food insecure. Record high levels of food insecurity have been seen each year since 2020. As a result, the World Food Programme (WFP) has placed Sudan in the highest emergency response category. The Overarching goals of the WFP in Sudan in the wake of the crisis reflect some of the country’s most pressing issues: treatment for malnutrition, the provision of school meals and the wider employment of common services — namely, logistics and telecommunication. 

The FAO’s Latest Plan

Four main priorities front the FAO’s new strategy to improve the food security situation in Sudan: high-quality seed, livestock and veterinary support, fisheries support and cash+ modality. A shared action between these branches of support is the plan to target specific households, using data to determine the most vulnerable farmers or fishers. For example, they seek to know who will benefit significantly from the program. 

Cash+ modality is an extensive method of support. For the Sudan ELRP, using cash+ involves a combination of ‘unconditional cash assistance and in-kind support coupled with training during the dry season’ (FAO). It is a two-fold mechanism that will provide varied aid to vulnerable agricultural households. The FAO’s outline for its plan addresses the need for specially designed, time-sensitive assistance to ensure the food security situation in Sudan can improve all year round. 

As it tackles the issue of hunger, the ELRP for Sudan primarily comes under the progress of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2), which aims to eradicate global hunger by 2030. The FAO also incorporates other SDGs into its plan for Sudan. For example, it will make progress towards SDG 5 (Gender Equality) in directing priority support towards female-headed agricultural households in the country since these households are statistically more food insecure than those headed by men. 


The FAO has a vast history of achievement, from its conception in 1945 to the present day. Amongst these successes, the FAO helped halve hunger statistics for individuals in Latin America and the Caribbean, currently maintains the largest global statistical database on food and agriculture and eradicated rinderpest. This disease proved fatal to livestock. 

Such a list of past achievements makes the FAO one of the key organizations in the fight to end extreme poverty. The planned improvement of food security and agricultural provisions in Sudan is a step towards advancing humanitarian aims and achieving global equality.

– Alice Weatherley
Photo: Unsplash

Cost of Living Crisis in SudanThe current instability in the global political scene has resulted in supply chain disruptions worldwide, which has ramifications for all nations, rich and poor. However, the costs for developing countries such as Sudan are often more significant. While the cost of living crisis in Sudan affects everyone, those living in extreme poverty suffer the most. With ongoing energy and food inflation, an effective policy response takes time to put in place. This process becomes lengthy because many means of support would be inflationary, potentially exacerbating the already prevalent problem of higher cost of living. Crises such as these are difficult to control but organizations and the international community must take action to aid the impoverished amid these economic shocks.

Rising Costs

One factor that has accelerated inflation is rising fuel costs, which affects energy bills and leaves less income to spend on other essentials. Due to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict, oil prices have soared and continue to soar today. In September 2023, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Saudi Arabia and Russia would extend cuts on crude oil exports, thus further limiting supply and hiking up prices.

Fuel aside, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has continued to impact the prices of other staple goods, such as maize and wheat, as both countries are major exporters of these grains. The ongoing depreciation of the Sudanese pound also plays a role in the economic struggles of the local Sudanese people. The currency depreciation has meant that, alongside inflation, prices of imported goods, including agricultural, have risen. An April 2023 report by ReliefWeb indicates that food prices have increased exponentially, with some grain prices escalating 500-700% higher than the five-year average, reducing disposable income to negligible for most low-income families.

Cost of Living Crisis in Sudan

The conflict between the Sudanese Army and the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) has had economic repercussions, with many vendors being unable to sell their goods and many consumers unable to afford basic necessities, such as food. Overall, since 2021, Sudan has reported a 143% increase in food expenses. Sudanese vendors are even struggling to transport their goods for selling as the rising fuel prices have led to high transport costs.

Currently, there is cause for concern regarding the future recovery of the Sudanese economy and commodity production capabilities. High costs of production, reduced consumption and the resulting diminished profit may mean that many suppliers and agriculture workers may need help to sustain their business activities in the long run as economic activities draw closer to potentially reaching their shutdown points.

Policy and Solutions

Many solutions would entail a degree of inflation, as cash transfers and other benefits result in introducing additional cash into a nation’s money supply. Blanket policies, such as subsidizing energy bills for all, will ultimately benefit the rich and insufficiently provide for those most in need, creating widening inequality. More low-income targeted policies, such as unconditional cash transfers, tax cuts and vouchers, would likely be superior; however, with low-income groups having the highest marginal propensity to consume, inflation would be unavoidable. Inflation is regressive, similar to any blanket benefit policies, which tend to be accompanied by growing inequality. There is an evident trade-off between supporting those in need from rising costs and generating additional issues regarding inflation and inequality.

In May 2023, UNICEF launched a humanitarian appeal to gather urgent funding for the organization’s aid endeavors in Sudan. UNICEF reported that as of May 2023, about 25 million people in Sudan require aid. The organization aims to help at least 11.9 million of these people along with 9.4 million children and requires funding of $837.6 million to carry out these humanitarian activities. The funding will provide water, nutrition and health care to people affected by the current conflict.

The humanitarian aid will help to cushion the blow of rising costs of living while preventing deterioration on the poverty front. Sudan needs economic reform to return to stability, but with the correct policy frameworks, Sudan could successfully escape the state of extreme inflation. 

– Hannah Bugeja
Photo: Flickr

The Conflict in SudanOn April 15, 2023, an internal conflict broke out in Sudan between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). The conflict has worsened the already existing issues of poverty and public health in Sudan. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 46 attacks on health care workers and facilities since the conflict started with 67% of hospitals reportedly shut down, affecting 11 million Sudanese citizens. Furthermore, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), 15 million Sudanese citizens are struggling with acute food insecurity, and that number could rise to 18 million if food aid organizations do not receive adequate financial support. In response, major international powers have launched diplomatic interventions to stop the conflict in Sudan.

The U.S.–Saudi Arabia Efforts to Stop the Conflict in Sudan began with the Jeddah Declaration, signed by the RSF and the SAF in the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on May 11, 2023. The Jeddah Declaration prioritized “the interests and well-being of the Sudanese people” and affirmed its obligation to “International Humanitarian Law and international human rights law.” This includes ensuring the protection of hospitals and water installations as well as allowing humanitarian organizations to help those in need of medical help. This major diplomatic intervention has been partially successful so far in mitigating the conflict.

Effectiveness of the Declaration

The Jeddah Declaration has managed to reduce some of the tension between the warring parties. On June 17, 2023, the U.S.–Saudi Arabia efforts to stop the conflict in Sudan resulted in a 72-hour ceasefire. The ceasefire agreement includes a prohibition on the “use of military aircraft or drones, artillery strikes” and “from seeking military advantage during the ceasefire.” Consequently, the following day witnessed an absence of fighting in Sudan, and reports from people on the ground indicated a calm situation. This demonstrates the effectiveness of strong diplomatic leadership in halting violence and enabling the provision of humanitarian aid to alleviate poverty and offer essential medical support.

Remaining Hostilities Between Warring Parties

Despite the U.S.–Saudi Arabia efforts to stop the conflict in Sudan, the RSF and SAF are still hostile toward each other, thereby prolonging the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. During the Eid al-Adha on June 28, 2023, Sudanese citizens claimed that they heard gunfire and airstrikes despite a ceasefire announcement by both the RSF and the SAF. As a result, many Sudanese people had to pray the Eid prayer at home instead of in the mosque as per Islamic tradition. Furthermore, people in Sudan are struggling to obtain food because they do not have enough money and the stores are reportedly being looted.

Further Global Initiatives To Help Sudan

Not only the U.S.-Saudi Arabia efforts but also other initiatives are taking place to aid the Sudanese people. On June 20, 2023, an international conference focusing on Sudan’s aid took place in Geneva, Switzerland, with Germany, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, and the U.N. playing host. During the conference, donors from around the world pledged $1.5 billion in aid to Sudan. This significant commitment emphasizes the international community’s determination to bring an end to the conflict, which has caused 2.2 million people to flee their homes and endure health and poverty challenges.

– Abdullah Dowaihy
Photo: Flickr

Conflict in SudanThe people of Sudan are facing renewed trouble as fighting between the ruling military regime and the Rapid Support Force (RSF) paramilitary confederation puts the country’s poorest at risk. The ongoing conflict, which erupted on Saturday, April 15, 2023, puts vital humanitarian work in jeopardy. On Sunday, April 16, 2023, the World Food Program (WFP) announced that it was forced to cease operations as a result of the conflict in Sudan. A third of the population of Sudan is at risk of acute food insecurity. Getting them the vital aid they require is being rendered more difficult by the violence intensifying across the sub-Saharan nation.

The Cause of Conflict

In 2019, the deposition of long-term dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir failed to result in the establishment of a stable and democratic civilian government in Sudan. The army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, launched a coup and took control of the country in 2021. Civilian rule was due to be restored in Sudan at the start of April 2023 following an agreement brokered in December 2022 between the army and political and civil groups. However, disagreements over the deal, which would see the RSF integrated into the army, resulted in a power struggle between the two factions. On April 15, violent clashes between the army and the RSF broke out. Reports suggest that Khartoum, the country’s capital, has been consumed by 24-hour conflict since Saturday. Battles are also taking place across western Darfur and other regions in Sudan. So far, at least 400 people have died.

Sudan’s political and economic issues have worsened in the years following the 2019 uprising and military takeover. Western nations and international organizations have suspended the majority of aid and loans for Sudan. In the context of international isolation, chronic political unrest and economic hardship, conflict in Sudan spells even more misery for the country’s poorest. The long-dreaded violence between the country’s two chief military factions threatens to destabilize the Northeast Africa region and increase the number of internally displaced people in Sudan (already 3.7 million), and this could consequently make the process of getting humanitarian aid across to the country’s most vulnerable more challenging.

World Food Program Halts Operations

WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, halted all operations in Sudan on Sunday, April 16, 2023, after three of its employees were killed the day before. The killings happened in Kabkabiya, North Darfur. An additional two employees were injured in the same incident. In a statement, WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain explained that all operations in Sudan had been suspended “pending a review of the evolving security situation.” Ms. McCain said threats to their teams make it impossible to operate safely and effectively in the country and carry out WFP’s critical work. She also said that damage inflicted on a U.N. Humanitarian Air Service aircraft during an exchange of fire at Khartoum airport seriously impacted the WFP’s ability to transport humanitarian workers and aid within the country.

The indefinite suspension of activities by the WFP represents a significant blow to the humanitarian effort in Sudan. WFP Sudan recently received a €24 million ($26 million) payment from the European Union (EU) to help meet the basic food and nutritional needs of the country’s poorest. As the conflict in Sudan continues, it is still unclear when citizens will receive this aid. Although the WFP was already experiencing “pipeline breaks” to its nutrition support and school feeding program before fighting broke out, the people of Sudan could begin to feel the loss of its activity as they run low on food and water.

International Aid

Former dictator, Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s ban on NGOs in the country had inhibited humanitarian assistance to Sudan. International charitable organizations have nonetheless managed to establish themselves in the country. Organizations such as UNICEF Sudan, Save the Children, Mercy Corps and Plan International continue to provide vital aid in Sudan, even as the WFP ceased operations on Sunday. UNICEF Sudan, for example, remains the leading agency providing long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to Sudan.

Sudan lies at the epicenter of the global nutrition crisis. And the current conflict in Sudan could exacerbate this issue. A collective of humanitarian organizations estimated in a 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan that 14.3 million people across Sudan required humanitarian aid in 2022. Of those in need, most are female, and more than half (7.8 million) are children. In January, UNICEF launched an ‘acceleration plan’ in Sudan and 11 other mainly sub-Saharan nations to prevent and treat ‘wasting’ in women and children. Women urgently need the delivery of this plan, as malnutrition afflicts approximately 25% of mothers across the region. Conflict in Sudan threatens to interrupt the work of organizations like UNICEF. Additionally, it makes it harder for mothers to access the vital care they need.

Looking Ahead

Governments and organizations all over the world have condemned the outbreak of conflict in Sudan. Head of the U.N. Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) Mr. Volker Perthes has warned that acts of violence disrupt the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance: “When incidents like this occur, it is women, men and children in desperate need of assistance who suffer the most.” As the withdrawal of the WFP from Sudan shows, violence directly impacts the provision of aid to Sudan’s most vulnerable. But while the suspension of operations by the World Food Program is a setback, efforts to address the nutrition crisis and support vulnerable populations in Sudan are ongoing. The resilience and dedication of these organizations UNICEF and Save the Children offer a glimmer of hope for a brighter future for the people of Sudan.

– Samuel Chambers
Photo: Flickr

Aid in Sudan
Sudan has entered a new period of civil conflict, throwing an already delicate humanitarian situation into a full-blown crisis. As the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fight for military control in the streets of Khartoum and across the country, more than 330,000 Sudanese civilians have experienced internal displacement since April 15. However, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other organizations are providing aid in Sudan and making a difference.

The Situation

More than 100,000 people have fled the country and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that the number will rise to more than 800,000 as the crisis continues. Neighbouring countries Chad and Egypt, have each welcomed tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees seeking aid. 

Before the conflict, the North African nation was already struggling to provide sufficient food and medical care to support its citizens. More than 16 million people, approximately one-third of Sudan’s population, relied on some form of humanitarian support before the conflict began. Unfortunately, the process of getting foreign aid across to those in need could become even more challenging due to the conflict. Port Sudan along the coast of the Red Sea is the only available entry point for aid into Sudan according to the International Committee of the Red Cross Africa. The epicenter of the humanitarian crisis is in the Darfur region, which is difficult to reach due to security concerns.

Restarting Aid in Sudan

Many foreign aid actors suspended their humanitarian activities in Sudan when the conflict broke out in Khartoum on April 15th, due to active fighting and the closure of the country’s borders. The World Food Programme (WFP) lifted its temporary suspension on foreign aid activities on May 1 after three staff members were killed in North Darfur when the fighting began. The WFP has stated that it will distribute food assistance in Al Jazirah, Gedaref, Kassala and White Nile.

However, humanitarian access will remain limited in the most impacted regions of Darfur, Khartoum and Kordofan. USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration coordinate with multiple United Nations aid organizations to bolster food security and humanitarian aid in Sudan. Partnering with the WFP, USAID/BHA assisted approximately 1.1 million people in Sudan with emergency food and nutrition assistance in February 2023.

The U.S. agency delivered about 45,000 metric tons of American-sourced Sorghum to Sudan between November 2022 and April 2023 to support critical food shortages in the country. USAID has also worked with UNHCR and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide water, sanitation and hygiene assistance in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as dengue and malaria. Partner agencies have improved access to clean drinking water in conflict-impacted areas and have provided hygiene awareness sessions.

Opening Pathways for Aid in Sudan

The United States Government has demonstrated a commitment to supporting humanitarian aid efforts in Sudan amidst the violent civil conflict. The government has pledged $162,511,131 to USAID programs to support its humanitarian aid in Sudan for the fiscal year 2023. This funding comes in the form of financial aid to various U.N. partner agencies that provide food and medical aid to people in need all throughout the country.

U.S. State Department officials are in ongoing negotiations to open up additional avenues for humanitarian aid to Sudan. Envoys representing both warring factions have traveled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as part of “pre-negotiation talks” mediated by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Neither military faction has shown a willingness to negotiate an end to the conflict, but there are considerations regarding reaching a humanitarian truce. U.S. officials are cautiously optimistic that the two sides can reach an agreement to allow additional humanitarian aid to reach Sudan. However, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland has stated that the U.S. is willing to apply economic pressure to the parties “depending on how talks go.”

Looking Ahead

Despite the ongoing civil conflict in Sudan, international aid organizations, including USAID, are working tirelessly to provide critical assistance to those affected by the crisis. While the situation remains challenging, the lifting of suspensions on aid activities and the commitment of the U.S. government to support humanitarian efforts offer hope for improving the dire conditions in the country. Negotiations for a potential humanitarian truce provide a glimmer of optimism, with the possibility of opening up pathways for additional aid to reach Sudan.

– Jeremy Rosen
Photo: Flickr

Being poor in SudanBehind being poor in Sudan lies a conflict-ridden history. Sudan has long been a war-torn country, from the early Madhist War to the first and second civil wars and to the more recent ongoing Darfur conflict.

The second civil war lasted from 1983 to 2005 and despite leading to the subsequent independence of South Sudan in 2011, It resulted in the death of an estimated two million civilians, with disease and famine being the biggest killer.

Meanwhile, since 2003, in the Western Sudanese province of Darfur, conflict continues to rage over the genocide of non-Arab Sudanese citizens. These conflicts, along with unstable and dictatorial leaders, have only perpetuated intense poverty for the majority of the Sudanese population.

Here is what it’s like being poor in Sudan:

Hunger and food insecurity

In Sudan, an estimated 15 million people are currently facing acute hunger, making food insecurity a major concern. Political instability and high rates of inflation are the primary drivers of this crisis, with 95% of Sudanese households spending more than half their income on food. In the last year alone, prices have surged by 137%.

Sudan’s already critical food conditions have further deteriorated due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. More than 60% of Sudan’s population lives in rural areas, resulting in an economy heavily reliant on agriculture. However, due to climate insecurity, including droughts and land degradation, as well as inadequate infrastructure, harvest yields have been alarmingly low.

Access to Water and Sanitation

In Sudan, 17.3 million people lack access to basic clean water, putting them at risk of disease. Additionally, only half the schools in Sudan have access to water supply. An estimated 24 million people face limited access to sanitation facilities and nearly half of them have no choice but to defecate in the open, exposing children and others to the risk of disease and death. With water becoming an increasingly hard-to-reach resource, women and children are consistently risking their lives to gather water from remote sources.


Sudan’s unemployment rate has been on the rise over the past few years. Between 2019 and 2020, the rate increased from 17.65% to 19.65% and continued to climb, albeit at a slower pace, in 2021. Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate over the past decade has remained between 80% to 90%. According to economist Hafiz Ismail, the reason for this is the lack of economic growth in the country, with various federal policies behind this.

Kids for Kids: the Charity Using Goats for Empowerment

In 2001, while visiting her son, who was working at the British Embassy in Sudan, Patricia Parker was moved by the sight of a young boy trekking across the arid desert in Darfur to fetch water for his family. After meeting Ibrahim and his family, Patricia felt moved to fund the installation of a hand pump near their home.

From there, Patricia launched a goat-focused initiative that provides families with goats for nutritious milk. And upon maturing, the goats birth offspring that go to other families. Her charity, Kids for Kids, based in the United Kingdom, also lends donkeys, chickens and agricultural tools while training health professionals to strengthen communities.

After 19 years, when Patricia returned to the village, she was delighted to find Ibrahim healthy and with a family of his own. In 2021, Patricia was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her diligent work in Darfur, Sudan.

Looking Ahead

The hot climate in Sudan contributes to exacerbating poverty in the country. It presents problems involving water scarcity and agricultural growth, resulting in conflict and wars that impact everyday civilians. Nevertheless, with more charities, like Kids for Kids, turning to Sudan, there is hope for children like Ibrahim to experience better living conditions.

– Genevieve Lewis
Photo: Flickr

Mental Health in SudanSeveral studies highlight that decades of violence and conflict in Sudan have significantly impacted the mental health of its citizens. Yet, suitable mental health care in the country is lacking, prompting action from organizations to improve mental health in Sudan.

Mental Health in Numbers

In Sudan, most mental health service providers are centralized in the capital of Khartoum. A barrier to mental health care access is the location of psychiatric hospitals — out of 18 states of the country only 12 states have “fully-equipped psychiatric hospitals” managed by qualified psychiatric personnel. Of these hospitals, six are located in Khartoum and the other six states are “managed by non-specialist medical doctors or by clinical psychologists and medical assistants,” a study, published in 2020, by Abdelgadir H. M. Osman and others says.

According to the Mental Health Atlas 2020, Sudanese people struggling with mental conditions pay for mental health care services and related medicines “mostly or entirely out of pocket.” Sudan has 34 psychiatrists, 425 psychologists and 366 social workers. Very few psychiatrists operate in Sudan’s rural areas. In total, as of 2020, 878 professionals across public, private and NGO sectors manage mental health in Sudan.

Many young doctors opt to move abroad to further their knowledge, experience and salaries. This causes a shortage of health professionals, who are often stretched beyond their capacity. Illustrating this, data shows that Sudan has only 2.05 total mental health professionals per 100,000 people in a country with a population of nearly 45 million people.

Sudan’s GDP in 2021 stood at about $34 billion. In 2020, Sudan spent about 6.5% of its GDP, equal to 1.7 billion, on health care with no specific allocation for a mental health budget.

Mental Health Policies

Although Sudan drafted a Mental Health Act in 1998, the Sudanese parliament approved it 10 years later in June 2018. Sudan’s mental health policy, which was last published in 2008, centers around the following guidelines: “developing a mental health component in primary healthcare, scaling up human resources, involvement of patients and their families, strengthening advocacy, promotion of the human rights protection of patients, equity and access to mental healthcare services across different groups, quality improvement, financing and monitoring systems.”

In 2009, Sudan developed a policy to restructure the mental health care system in the nation. Leading psychiatrists in Sudan participated in developing these documents and Sudan received technical support from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The cost of medication in a low-income country leaves a majority of civilians in need when having to choose between basic necessities and medicine for their mental health. Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental health makes people more reluctant to seek help. For instance, for women in Sudan, mental health issues “can lead to their family restricting their social presence” and mental health struggles can “[diminish] their opportunity to marry,” according to an article by WagingPeace.

The International Organization for Migration

In 2022, the International Organization for Migration’s EU-IOM Joint Initiative celebrated World Mental Health Day by carrying out community-based Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) activities in states within Gedaref and Khartoum. The IOM recognizes that foreign migrants, returnees and internally displaced persons face the most barriers to accessing mental health care in Sudan.

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative held a seminar to educate as many as 60 people on the importance of mental health care. The initiative also held a three-day mental health campaign via radio in three local languages.

Additionally, the initiative held a football match for 200 young people in Gedaref to raise awareness of mental health and encourage participation in sports and physical activities to maintain positive mental health.

Furthermore, the IOM held three focus group discussions that highlighted barriers to mental health access and how the IOM can play a role in addressing these challenges. The organization also provided mental health information to students at Gedaref University and supplied information on safe migration.

Looking Ahead

NGOs and other health organizations are working toward facilitating a better understanding of mental health for civilians of Sudan. By increasing the number of trained mental health care professionals and establishing additional mental health care facilities, especially in the more rural areas, mental health in Sudan can improve.

– Amin Isameldin Amin
Photo: Flickr

Teacher shortage in Sudan
A teacher shortage in Sudan is occurring.
More than 6.9 million children do not attend school because of the country’s “lack of sufficient teachers, infrastructure, and … enabling learning environment[s].” However, many more factors play into this shortage of educators and the plunge in school attendance that has taken place in recent years.

Threats Towards Teacher Employment

Many believe that the teacher shortage in Sudan could be a consequence of the South Sudanese Civil War. In July 2011, South Sudan announced its independent statehood from Sudan, sparking a violent war in 2013 and the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement in September 2018. County education director Malish William pins the lack of teachers on the fact that many of the country’s licensed educators escaped to refugee camps in 2016.

However, another factor playing into the lack of educators is Sudan’s economy, as it has struggled immensely since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has lost more than 3,159 citizens due to the pandemic as of December 2021 and the state of the economy has declined especially regarding its “fiscal health and monetary freedom.” Without the funds to send their children to school, many Sudanese families have opted to remove their children from the education system and instead send them directly to work. Arshad Malik, Country Director of Save the Children in Sudan, states that children without access to adequate schooling will cause “more girls and boys will lose their childhoods to [labor], marriage, and other rights violations.”

Many children in Sudan are already falling victim to these effects. Nine-year-old Zahra Hussein dropped out of school after only finishing second grade in order to help her family stay financially afloat. Hussein stated she was third in her class prior to leaving the school, consistently attending class and proving to be an impressive student.

Uncertainties in Educators’ Salaries

The Sudanese government’s declining economic state also leaves salaries as an uninsured luxury for teachers. Many teachers leave volunteer positions for careers with secure payments, forcing many children to miss important lessons because of the lack of educators. An anonymous teacher in Sudan claimed that many teachers leave the field because of the small salary that they are not promised. She explained that an entire year’s work sometimes does not even reach $100.


It is necessary for young children to attend school, where they are able to learn some of their most valuable lessons. Whether it be learning to read, deciphering shapes or meeting new children, education is vital to young minds.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has chosen to do something about this ongoing problem. UNICEF has supported children and working families in Sudan since 1952. The agency’s Humanitarian Response Plan, proposed in 2021, acknowledges the 13.4 million Sudanese citizens that need assistance and suffer in the country’s current economic state. The plan presents solutions that can help provide for those in poverty.

With the help of the Ministry of Education and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF will be working to advance the education system in Sudan and boost school attendance rates for refugee children. It plans to educate more than 1,500 students, encouraging the Sudanese government to rebuild schools and promise salaries for its educators.

– Aspen Oblewski
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Reduction in Sudan
Sudan is a Northeast African nation that looks to the Red Sea, with a population that now stands at 45 million. Sudan as a nation has faced extreme adversity throughout its past, as the occupation of Sudan by Britain and Egypt until 1956 manifested a series of civil wars that have ravaged the nation. Today sees Sudan in a dire situation, an ongoing humanitarian crisis has now resulted in a state of turmoil – with poverty reduction in Sudan now representing one of the global priorities for humanitarian institutions to tackle.

Poverty in Sudan

Poverty reduction in Sudan today, represents one of the most challenging obstacles for the nation, as well as global aid institutions to tackle. The current situation in Sudan is a multifaceted issue, according to UNICEF: “COVID-19, flooding, rising food prices, conflict and disease outbreaks have left 13.4 million people – more than a quarter of Sudanese – in need of life-saving aid.” As of 2020, roughly 77% of the population of Sudan was living under the poverty line.

Several factors represent the causes of the current situation in Sudan. Firstly, a prominent history of civil war and conflict in the nation has caused untold bloodshed across the span of decades. Secondly, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would have a detrimental effect on the people of Sudan, as economically, the pandemic would further escalate the outstanding issues of low-wage income across the nation. Thirdly, after South Sudan gained its independence in 2011, a substantial number of Sudanese and South Sudanese were displaced as a result of the conflict.

Efforts to Reduce Poverty in Sudan

Humanitarian efforts in Sudan to tackle the ongoing and escalating crisis have remained one of the leading priorities in recent times. Leading financial global institutions such as The World Bank, have aided Sudan’s situation in setting up initiatives and projects that provide relief. The Sustainable Natural Resources Management Project, for example, which concludes in 2023, has provided invaluable assistance in promoting sustainable agriculture to provide much-needed water access to communities.

UNICEF has also played a vital role in poverty reduction in Sudan. According to data from the 2014 Household Budget and Poverty Survey, child poverty rates rose to 85% in 2020. To combat the extremely high rate of child poverty within Sudan, UNICEF introduced the Mother and Child Cash Transfer Plus initiative. This program helps to provide the most basic necessities to newborns and mothers, providing financial support, “health care, nutrition, water and sanitation, and child protection.”

In 2021, UNICEF released a Humanitarian Relief Statement highlighting the effectiveness of the important assistance provided. Among the most notable successes were increased access to education, improved sanitation and reduction in malnutrition.

The Future

Due to the unstable political situation that has enveloped Sudan over the past couple of years, the means of supplying humanitarian aid to Sudan has intensified. However, with growing hope that the situation has a solution, humanitarian efforts appear to represent the most viable option for poverty reduction in Sudan.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is currently in the process of attaining funds for its Humanitarian Response Plan. As of September 2022, the plan requires a further 68.5% of funding to meet its $1.9 billion total. The plan consists of 233 projects and will aim to reach 10.9 million people in 68 localities. As outlined in the plan, the three primary strategic objectives are to provide life-saving assistance and prevent mortality, to provide a greater service of basic amenities to vulnerable people and through humanitarian action, to lessen protection risks and needs.

– Jamie Garwood
Photo: Flickr