Sudanese doctors battle to keep people alive amid the clash of bullets

Doctors in Sudan are experiencing compounded hardships as they navigate the challenges of armed conflicts while feeling a moral duty to continue their roles uninterrupted in saving victims and the injured.

They work in an environment lacking security and amid deteriorating conditions resulting from the breakdown of the healthcare system.

Amid the ongoing war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since April, doctors have been working in extremely challenging conditions, with monthly salaries suspended and the entire healthcare sector collapsing.

Despite these challenges, Sudanese doctors continue to fulfil their duty of caring for patients and those injured in armed conflicts.

According to the Sudan Doctors Union, approximately 60 hospitals out of 88 in conflict areas have ceased operations. While the union confirms that 28 hospitals are now functioning either fully or partially, with some providing emergency services, it also warns that they are at risk of closure due to medical staff shortages, medical supplies, water, and electricity.

According to the union, 17 hospitals have been targeted in airstrikes, while 20 hospitals have been forcibly evacuated, with the responsible party for these evacuations unspecified.

Working efficiently despite the disaster

Medical sources have reported that the Turkish Hospital “operates efficiently despite the conditions of war and provides its services to those injured in the ongoing conflicts.”

In late August, renewed violent conflict between the Sudanese army and the RSF in Al-Obied, North Kordofan state (south), exacerbated the humanitarian situation.

The Sudanese Doctors Union confirmed that the outbreak of fighting in Al-Obied led to a shell falling on the Kuwaiti Children’s Hospital, as well as an attack on the hospital, theft of hospital vehicles and the treasury, and terrorizing patients and their companions, causing the hospital to go out of operation due to those armed confrontations.

Despite these difficult conditions, medical sources from inside Al-Obied Hospital stated that “doctors work without complaint to meet the needs of patients, despite the challenges they face, including working long hours without salaries.”

Overwhelmed healthcare system in Sudan

The healthcare system in Geneina City, West Darfur State, is on the verge of collapse due to a shortage of medical staff, and medication and the increasing pressure resulting from a surge in injuries due to armed conflicts.

On June 8th, 2023, the Sudanese Doctors Union reported that attacks in Geneina occurred amidst a “catastrophic humanitarian and security situation.”

The union stated that medical services in the city, with a population of approximately one million people, had “collapsed since May 2023,” with the lack of food, medicine, water, and communication.

Dr. Amir Mustafa, a physician at Geneina Hospital, noted that the hospital is experiencing a severe shortage of medical staff and medications due to the overcrowding of patients.

He added that the healthcare situation within the hospital is in continuous deterioration due to injuries resulting from the ongoing war.

Despite these challenging circumstances, doctors are working diligently in extremely complex conditions. They are tirelessly fulfilling their duties even though they lack a suitable environment to continue their work.

Similarly, hospitals in El-Fula, West Kordofan State, and Nyala Hospital in South Darfur State face catastrophic conditions due to a shortage of medical staff and medication, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

Huda Mustafa, a medical staff member at Nyala Hospital, confirmed that the healthcare system in the hospital is on the verge of collapse due to the shortage of medical personnel and the absence of medications.

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