Our colleagues who were arrested last week at the Paediatric Centre in Nyala, South Darfur, have all been released with apologies from the Rapid Support Forces. They are shaken, but all are well.
The Paediatric Centre, however, was looted, so we are forced to suspend activities until further notice. We are working to see if we can reopen the facility and, if so, when. The premises and equipment have been damaged, but above all the situation has risked the safety of our Sudanese colleagues, who have been running the hospital autonomously for the last two months in order to guarantee necessary care for children, mothers and cardiac patients in Nyala and neighbouring areas.
Our colleagues were the first to ask us to keep the Paediatric Centre open to ensure the continuity of health activities. They see first-hand the impact their work has on their communities every day, and so their commitment has never wavered. However, we will not be able to reopen the hospital without assurances of the safety of our staff, our patients and the ability to work autonomously.
In Khartoum, too, the management of our facilities is becoming increasingly difficult.
The city is unrecognisable, torn apart by over six months of continuous fighting. Most of the hospitals have closed because they are unfit for use or they are no longer able to guarantee care due to a lack of medicines and necessary materials.
There is massive need. Even in our cardiac surgery and emergency surgery centres, there is a shortage of drugs, consumables, and fuel for the generators. There is a lack of authorisations to bring in medical supplies, and there is also a shortage of necessary personnel: many Sudanese colleagues have fled the escalating fighting, while the issuing of visas to our international staff is very slow; they have been waiting for months to enter the country and relieve colleagues who have been operating the projects since the beginning of the conflict.
Even in war, the right to care must be guaranteed. We demand respect for patients, staff and health facilities so that we can continue our work providing free, high-quality care in Sudan.