Sudan | Programme areas | Outbreak and crisis response

Outbreak and crisis response

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The country has been in ongoing conflict for over 11 years, with around 5.4 million people in need of humanitarian support. More than 3.1 million people directly affected by conflict have been displaced and 1.1 million people have been affected by severe food insecurity and emergency levels of acute malnutrition. In Darfur, South Kordofan, Abyei and Blue Nile states, in particular, access to basic health services has been compromised by insecurity and conflict, with almost 50.0% being delivered through external humanitarian support that focuses on life-saving interventions. Significant disparities of access to essential and specialized health care exist and are deepening between conflict and non-conflict areas, and between rural and urban communities. The protracted crises continue to undermine the gains or progress of development efforts. The coverage of routine vaccination remains low, especially in areas affected by conflict that, combined with the hardships of displacement, creates a significant risk for outbreaks of vaccine preventable, and water- and vector-borne, diseases. The country faced large scale outbreaks of yellow fever and measles in 2012–2013, malaria and dengue fever in 2014, and measles in 2015.

A system for health resources availability mapping exists, with regular updating from more than 800 health facilities, along with a sentinel-based (380 sites) early warning and response system that covers all relevant states. Until integrated disease surveillance is established, which should include a list of notifiable diseases, the early warning and response system remains the most reliable mechanism of alert for public health threats. In addition, the

country is covered by an incident tracking system run by the Federal Ministry of Health (supported by WHO). The country’s capacity to identify and respond to outbreaks has been strengthened over recent years, with 182 alerts being timely investigated and response initiated in 2014. However, the system depends on external support through

the humanitarian funding mechanism. In late 2014, the government began scaling up its preparedness for Ebola virus disease by assessing its level of preparedness and readiness, using the WHO assessment checklist, and identifying critical gaps for improvement. The country’s response to humanitarian needs is based on a cluster approach supported by the humanitarian country team and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Federal Ministry of Health, with the support of WHO, is involved in the coordination of the humanitarian response, data management, technical support for identification and prioritization of humanitarian needs, strategy development and support services.

Emergency preparedness and response for the health sector is well institutionalized, with a strong emergency preparedness and response department, and national emergency preparedness and response plan, supported by policies, guidelines, protocols and standards.

The priority of the country is to prepare a strategic plan for epidemic surveillance and response to outbreaks notified to the Federal Ministry of Health and the training of federal and state rapid response teams for communicable disease outbreaks with a focus on Ebola virus disease.

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 40 783
Total health expenditure (% of general government expenditure) 7.2
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) 311
Primary health care units and centres (per 10 000 population) 1.5
Total life expectancy at birth (years) 65.1

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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