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SUDAN: WHO condemns attacks on health personnel, facilities, others

THE World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly condemned reported attacks on health personnel, health facilities, and ambulances in Sudan.

According to WHO, the attacks, which appear to be increasing in number, have already led to at least three people killed and two injured. Moreover, they limit access to live saving health care, putting more lives at risk.

Speaking at a press conference in Cairo today, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, said reports of military strikes against health facilities, hijacking of ambulances while patients and paramedics are on board, looting of health facilities, and military forces occupying health facilities are deeply concerning.

Dr Al-Mandhari further stated that the attacks on health care are a flagrant violation of international law and the right to health.

“They must stop now. Parties to the conflict must ensure safe access of patients, health personnel, and ambulances to hospitals at all times,” he stressed, adding that patients need access to health services not only to treat injuries, but for other essential and lifesaving services.

Sixteen (16) hospitals (including nine in Khartoum) are reportedly non-functional due to attacks and 16 hospitals in Khartoum and other states, including Darfur States, are close to being non-functional due to staff fatigue and lack of supplies.

The WHO director also disclosed that Hospitals in Khartoum receiving injured people are reporting shortages of blood, transfusion equipment, intravenous fluids, medical supplies, and other life-saving commodities. Shortages of water, electricity, fuel, and food for patients are also being reported.

As challenges related to access to health care increase and health personnel face limited resources to treat patients, Dr Al-Mandhari said the safety and sanctity of health care must be always protected, especially in situations of conflict when access to life-saving services become even more vital.

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