NewsUNFPA Restores Critical Health Services in West Darfur

UNFPA Restores Critical Health Services in West Darfur

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In the wake of armed conflict and widespread violence, UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, has restored crucial health services in Sudan’s West Darfur State. The Ardamata clinic, a vital facility supporting around 300,000 people, faced devastation when it was stormed and looted in November, leaving a significant gap in care for displaced individuals and host communities.

Despite challenges, dedicated health and aid workers persevered, delivering care directly to women’s homes in the absence of a functional health center. Sara, a midwife, highlighted the difficulties faced, stating, “For some [pregnant women], we had to deliver them in the street.” The security situation in Sudan is dire, with 6 million internally displaced people, including an estimated 167,000 pregnant women. Reports of sexual violence, coercion, and trafficking of women and girls are on the rise.

Over the past year, health infrastructure in Sudan has been targeted, with 60 reported attacks on health facilities, leaving 70% of conflict zone facilities non-functional. Health workers have gone unpaid for months, and many facilities are occupied, looted, or destroyed. UNFPA, along with local partner the Child Development Foundation and international donors, took swift action to repair and restock the Ardamata clinic, providing essentials such as beds, lighting, surgical tools, and midwifery equipment.

With funding from the European Commission, the Republic of Korea, and the United States, the clinic resumed operations in December 2023. Health-care provider Khalid reported, “We performed 49 deliveries at the centre… We are delighted to resume serving the women and girls of Ardamata.” The clinic, offering free services, not only provides medical care but also instills a sense of security in the midst of crisis.

UNFPA continues to support health centers and safe spaces across Sudan, deploying temporary clinics to provide sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence protection services in conflict-affected states. Despite compromised access and acute insecurity, the staff of the Ardamata clinic remain devoted to supporting their communities, recognizing that the lives and well-being of millions are hanging in the balance.

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