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 built by EMERGENCY in Nyala was active from July 2010 to August 2011.
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.
Closure of the Paediatric Centre in 2011 and upcoming reopening
In August 2011, approximately one year after activity in Nyala began, the EMERGENCY international logistician working at the Centre was kidnapped by a group of armed men and kept prisoner for around four months. Thanks to great efforts by EMERGENCY and the Sudanese authorities, our worker was freed in December 2011.
After the kidnapping, the clinic’s activities were suspended. The essential safety conditions for keeping our staff at the facility were no longer met.
From July 2010 to August 2011, we had 1,458 admissions, 29,530 clinical check-ups and 368 heart check-ups at the Paediatric Centre in Nyala.
Since August 2018, we have been carrying out reconstruction work ahead of the reopening of our new Paediatric Centre in Nyala, capital of the state of South Darfur.
The work was funded with the help of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, through its AID/11278 project ‘Emergency initiative to support the reopening of the EMERGENCY Paediatric Centre in Nyala’, which began in August 2018 and which will end in June 2019.
The reconstruction work is due to finish in the second half of 2019. We have yet to determine the date on which activity at the clinic will start.
The Paediatric Centre in Nyala will be part of a regional network for paediatrics and heart surgery, with the Salam Centre for Heart Surgery in Khartoum as its point of reference. Our Sudanese team have already carried out follow-up and screening projects in the Nyala area.