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WHO condemns escalation of violence and attacks on health workers in West Darfur, Sudan – Sudan

Cairo, Egypt, April 27, 2022 – The World Health Organization (WHO) calls for an immediate end to armed violence in West Darfur, Sudan, which has left hundreds of civilians dead or injured, the death of two health workers and attacks on two health facilities in the past five days alone.

“We are extremely alarmed by reports of an escalation of violence in Kereneik town and other areas of West Darfur,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean. “WHO joins the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and other agencies and humanitarian partners in calling for an immediate end to these senseless and brutal attacks on civilians, health workers and health facilities.

Since April 22, fresh armed clashes in and around the town of Kereneik have reportedly claimed nearly 200 lives from violent trauma and forced thousands of newly displaced civilians to seek refuge in the town’s military compound.

On April 23 and 24, two hospitals in the towns of Kereneik and El Geneina were attacked by armed men, resulting in the deaths of two health workers. These attacks constitute a major violation of international law and human rights. WHO demands that all parties to the conflict in Sudan respect the safety and neutrality of health workers, patients and health facilities. During the holy month of Ramadan and beyond, we urge all parties to uphold the core values ​​of mercy, respect, trust and solidarity.

“Medical workers providing life-saving care to injured civilians are already overstretched and should not be at risk of being intimidated or attacked. As the need for acute trauma care in Sudan increases and fewer international humanitarian actors are able to work on the ground due to safety and security concerns, it is innocent civilians who bear the brunt of this reduced access to health care,” added Dr Al-Mandhari.

WHO continues to work with the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health and partner agencies to ensure that hospitals and other health facilities in Sudan, particularly in West Darfur, remain operational by providing training to workers and community leaders on trauma care and first aid, providing rapid response kits containing essential drugs and medical supplies, and providing ambulances to provide emergency treatment and transportation of the injured to medical facilities.

Note to Editors

In 2019, WHO activated a system for monitoring and reporting attacks on health facilities and personnel in Sudan. Since then, a total of 55 attacks on health care have been reported in Sudan, leaving 10 dead and 45 injured.

WHO defines attacks on health care as any act of verbal or physical violence, obstruction or threat of violence that interferes with the availability, access and delivery of curative and/or preventive health services. These attacks range from physical violence, psychosocial threats and intimidation to the use of heavy weapons against health facilities, ambulances, staff, patients, supplies and warehouses.

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