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