Darfur is often struck by the disastrous effects of famines, floods, epidemics (mainly measles, hepatitis, scabies, and cholera) and internal conflict, as well as the subsequent migration of its population.
Nyala is the capital of the state of South Darfur and home to more than 800,000 people. Most of them have no access to basic health services.
Many people live in extreme poverty, and health conditions are critical, especially for women and children. Meanwhile, shortages of medical workers and medicine make it even harder to meet local healthcare needs.
The paediatrics statistics for the state of South Darfur are among the most alarming. The infant mortality rate for children under five is higher than 70%. Around 820,000 children in this age bracket do not have access to health services, even in emergency situations.
The Paediatric Centre provides free and high- quality paediatric treatment to children under 14.
The Centre is equipped with three paediatric clinics, a heart clinic, a radiology room, a laboratory for analysis, a pharmacy, and a hospital ward with 18 bed spaces, as well as other integral facilities like the stock room, offices and kitchen.
The structure was built with a strong focus on using sustainable techniques. These include an innovative air conditioning system that uses water to provide natural ventilation for the clinic, inspired by traditional methods from the northern Sahara.
The land that the Paediatric Centre is built on was provided by the state government of South Darfur.
The Centre reopened its doors in November 2020 nine years after the Centre was closed for security reasons due to the kidnapping of an international staff member.
Clinic’s Activities as of today
As in all of our hospitals, clinical activities are carried out in full compliance with health-response protocols issued in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
All the necessary measures to contain the risk are put in place inside the facility – such as washing and sanitation stations and the adoption of personal protective equipment – aimed at making the facility not only comfortable but safe, for everyone.
Activities suspended in 2011
After our logistician was kidnapped in August 2011, we were forced to suspend the clinic’s activities for security reasons.
Our colleague was freed a few months later, in December 2011.
Since then, we have never stopped looking for a way to safely restart activities there, knowing how important it was to the people of Darfur.
Once we were reassured of the essential safety conditions from the local authorities, in August 2018 we started the reconstruction and renovation work . Throughout the refurbishment time, a team of non-health local staff has taken steps to oversee the facility and keep it running right before the official reopening.
This project is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).