Sudan – Darfur

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Where is Sudan?

In the north east of Africa, Sudan and in particular the Darfur region in western Sudan remains one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises as it struggles to recover from 20 years of civil war and continuing insecurity.

Conflict in Darfur

The Darfur conflict, which started in 2003, has led to the displacement of 2.7 million people. Despite the signing of a north-south peace agreement in 2005 and a relatively peaceful secession of South Sudan in July 2011, the situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate, as outbreaks of violence claim even more lives and force people to flee their homes. While some internally displaced persons (IDPs) have begun to return to their original communities, many are doubtful of what they will face upon their return in terms of land, security, and basic services.


Our work in Darfur

Despite the challenges of operating there, International Medical Corps has worked in Darfur non-stop since 2004, providing primary health care, maternal and child health, nutrition, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, and capacity-building programmes to approximately 500,000 people. In addition to direct services, International Medical Corps also invests in local health professionals and national staff through training and education, to build the foundation for long-term recovery.


Primary Health Care
International Medical Corps has established 25 primary clinics in Darfur that provide health services, including: reproductive health care, health education, immunisation, child health care, disease surveillance, and referrals of severe cases to hospitals.  Over the past year, more than 475,000 consultations were performed, more than 800 emergency obstetric procedures were performed, and 810 health workers from the Ministry of Health received refresher training and on-the-job supervision.

All International Medical Corps health interventions emphasize education of local communities on topics, including: gender-based violence, sanitation and hygiene promotion, prevention of common infectious diseases, and safe motherhood. We also empower the local people to fill a variety of health care positions within their own communities.

In addition to building and supporting health centres, International Medical Corps conducts home visits in order to serve the needs of as many people as possible. From 2009-2010, community health workers in Wadi Saleh conducted more than 91,000 home visits. During March 2011, International Medical Corps initiated a 10-day rapid mass vaccination campaign against a measles outbreak in Um Dukhun. Because of this effort, 100 percent of children younger than five years old in and around Um Dukhun Town and 100 percent those in Al Salaam Camp were successfully vaccinated against the disease.

Maternal & Child Health
In regions plagued by conflict and violence, children and their carers often suffer the most, yet are the least likely to be able to access health care services.  International Medical Corps has made this underserved population a focus of its work in Darfur.  In addition to providing crucial obstetric, antenatal, and postnatal care to mothers, International Medical Corps supports local women through education and training in family planning and prevention of HIV/AIDS.  Care-givers in local communities are able to access immunizations, nutritional screening, and assistance with newborn care so that children’s wellbeing is protected, even in the midst of civil conflict and internal displacement.

International Medical Corps also provides prevention and care for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (GBV).  By educating communities in the region about these issues, we aim to reduce the frequency of such acts in the future.

In addition, our experts recently rehabilitated a hospital in Um Dukhun, West Darfur, making comprehensive Emergency and Obstetric Care (EmOC) services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to vulnerable populations across a huge area stretching as far as the borders of Chad and Central African Republic. International Medical Corps also distributed midwifery kits, including sterile tools and medicines, which resulted in more than 5,000 safe deliveries.

Nutrition & Food Security
As violence and instability continue year after year in Darfur, the access that people have to secure and reliable food sources continues to deteriorate. In response, International Medical Corps screens children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers for malnutrition, and provides treatment and nutritional support as needed. International Medical Corps’ community health workers assess and treat patients through home visits as well as in clinics, providing treatment to the most severe cases via Out-Patient Therapeutic Programs (OTP) in West and South Darfur.  By educating families in the prevention of malnutrition, International Medical Corps helps local communities avoid the long term consequences of hunger.
Water & Sanitation
As people flee violence and resettle in camps, fragile host communities often find their resources strained by the population influx. In drought-prone Darfur, this is a significant problem for local water and sanitation systems, which are often in short supply and poor quality. As a result, IDPs and host communities are often at risk of dehydration and illness.

In response, International Medical Corps has worked to expand access to water in the Darfur region through sanitation projects in Mukjar, Garsilla, and Um Dukhun. This includes building waste disposal systems, drainage canals, and safe sanitation facilities as well chlorinating, rehabilitating, and maintaining water points.  International Medical Corps also educates communities on the critical role of hygiene in health, so that families can better protect themselves from disease.

Health System Strengthening
With generous funding from Stichting Vluchteling (SV), International Medical Corps is not only delivering a full range of primary health services to refugee and vulnerable poulations across Darfur, we are also working to strengthen the district health system so that we can evemtually hand over responsibility for these services. International Medical Corps is training local people and partners at every level, from community health workers, to hospital staff, in order to strehgthen the capacity of Darfurians to meet their own health needs.

Our capcity building teams are rehabilitating health centres in the villages of Riyad, Terij, Urokom, Beija, and Mukja. At Mukjar Hospital, one of the largest health facilities in Darfur, International Medical Corps provides laboratory services and trains staff to take on these highly skilled responsibilities.



Our Donors

International Medical Corps UK recognises the invaluable support of the following European donors to make our work possible.




Just 22 hours after the devastating 7.0-earthquake hit in January 2010, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team was on the ground in Haiti providing medical care to survivors. Our doctors and nurses were able to mobilise on an unparalleled scale to provide 24-hour emergency care to the acutely injured at the Hôpital de l’Université d’État d’Haiti (HUEH), a 700-bed hospital in Port-au-Prince. HUEH was badly damaged in the earthquake and many local health care professionals were missing. We were able to save thousands of lives through emergency and trauma care in the critical days following the earthquake.

At the height of emergency operations at the hospital, International Medical Corps treated approximately 1,000 patients per day. Our early entry also gave us the foundation to rapidly expand our operations to 15 mobile clinics throughout Haiti to provide critical services. Through the hospital and mobile and fixed clinics, International Medical Corps teams provided more than 110,000 patient consultations during the first year following the emergency.

When reports of acute diarrhoea emerged from the north of Haiti in October 2010, International Medical Corps doctors and nurses immediately deployed to the region providing emergency relief for the growing cholera crisis. Our network of rapidly constructed cholera treatment centres, supported by 820 community health volunteers to educate communities on how to prevent and identify cholera, meant that more than 30,000 cholera patients received life-saving treatment within the first year following the outbreak.



Libya ambulanceInternational Medical Corps was among the first organisations to enter Libya once the conflict began in February 2011, providing emergency medical care to casualties from the fighting and support to hospitals with medical staff and supplies. Among the first challenges our Emergency Response Teams encountered was a chronic shortage of nurses, as thousands of foreign nurses had fled the country. In partnership with the Jordan Health Aid Society, International Medical Corps immediately deployed volunteer nurses to health centres across eastern Libya moving them to towns and cities throughout the country as access permitted. Volunteer nurses trained the local counterparts while working alongside them.

At the country’s borders and within Libya, we supplied those displaced by the fighting with essential relief items, including blankets, bottled water and food. Recognising the danger posed by communicable diseases, our sanitation and hygiene specialists constructed latrines and washing stations in transit camps along the Tunisia borders.

Libya 5As the fighting went on International Medical Corps worked as close to the front line as possible, providing emergency treatment to those injured in the conflict, and medicines and supplies to besieged towns and cities. In Misurata, inaccessible by road, we evacuated nearly 500 injured civilians by boat. International Medical Corps’ mobile field hospitals treated the wounded from battles in Tripoli, the Western Mountains, Bani Walid, Sabha, Jufrah and Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.



Mali - villagerInternational Medical Corps mobilized an emergency response in Mali in January 2013 after rebel armed forces from the north began moving south, triggering French military intervention. In Timbuktu, which had spent months under the control of armed Islamist rebel our team were amongst the first international organisations to arrive and found pillaged clinics, missing medical personnel and damaged health infrastructure.

We immediately began supporting eight strategically targeted health clinics in remote areas around Timbuktu, where the Malian Ministry of Health has been unable to maintain adequate services to local communities. By providing medicines, training staff and recruiting qualified doctors and nurses, we can ensure local people will now have access to basic primary and secondary health care for the first time in months

Mali-Road-to-TimbuktuTrue to our mission to build self reliance, International Medical Corps is also already training community health workers to go out to local markets and spread essential hygiene, reproductive health and nutrition messages. We are also working to rehabilitate clinics damaged during the conflict, by building or repairing latrines, water systems, solar panel systems and other infrastructure repairs, enabling health workers to have stable and well-equipped facilities to help the people of Mali.


Basanti & Bishal's story

Basanti, a young mother of two in Nepal, returned home from fetching water for her family to find her 8-month old son Bishal had fallen into the open cooking fire. Basanti was in shock, but she wrapped her baby in blankets and ran for help. No one in their village or at the local health post knew what to do so she had to travel more than six hours by bus to seek emergency care at the closest hospital. The district hospital could only stabilize Bishal and wasn’t able to treat his wounds properly. As a result, his little fingers contracted into a fist as the burned skin contracted and “healed” over the coming year, making it impossible for him to use his hand. His cheek, lips and eyelid also contracted and tightened, threatening his vision.

After selling part of their farm to pay for transportation to Kathmandu, Basanti sought further treatment for her baby. However, two hospitals in the nation’s capital could not help either. Adding to Basanti’s struggles, her husband abandoned the family, leaving her alone to care for Bishal and his four-year-old sister.

Thankfully, Basanti heard about the surgical care available through ReSurge International, our trusted partner with a 43-year history of serving burn victims. Dr. Rai, ReSurge’s Outreach Director in Nepal, and his team restored Bishal’s eyelid and his hand will soon be surgically repaired as well.

Even though it took more than a year for him to get appropriate treatment, Bishal is one of the lucky ones. Thousands of children never get the care they need to live a normal life after a disabling burn.


Our impact through training in 2012



Our Mother Care Group Approach


Read more about our community based approach to prevention and treatment of malnutrition