Bringing health care closer to flood-affected families in Sudan

Publicado: 22 octubre 2013 15:27 CET

By Nelly Muluka, IFRC and Rihab Suleiman, Sudanese Red Crescent Society

Asha Ali Ezac, 27, was heavily pregnant with her fourth child when flash floods displaced thousands of people from Khartoum State in Sudan in August.

“When the flash floods came, I was expectant,” she says. “The heavy rain that poured continuously for three days left me worried about my safety and that of my three children. From the onset, we realized that our lives were in danger so we moved to a nearby primary school as a precautionary measure. I was unable to salvage my household items because I had the children to worry about. It did not help that the rains came in the night.”

For now, Asha and her children live in a tent in the same area where her home collapsed. Her husband works away as a casual labourer and is not able to help deal with the aftermath of the flooding.

The Sudanese Red Crescent Society is assisting, with volunteers continuing to operate an emergency mobile clinic. During a visit to the clinic with her five-day-old baby girl, Asha says the health services are exceptional.

“I am so impressed by the work that the health volunteers do. Both the medical assistant and the midwife are doing a great job and have saved many lives in this area. I delivered my baby at the clinic five days ago. Just yesterday, my newborn baby and two of my other children had fevers and they were all treated,” she says.

She also commends the volunteers for doing home visits and follow-ups for expectant mothers and for patients who have visited the health facility.

Four mobile clinics were set up in Khartoum by the Red Crescent, with support from UNFPA and WHO following the heavy rains and floods.

Dr Eltagh Hamid Ibrahim, a medical assistant at one of the clinics, and a Red Crescent volunteer said the clinics were being kept busy. “Each clinic sees an average of 125 people per day, and serves at least 1,700 households,” he says. “The most common ailments are diarrhoea, wounds, skin diseases, anaemia, and malnutrition in children. The clinic operates around the clock because the nearest health facility is 11 kilometres away.”