South Darfur starts vaccination campaign in one third of the state

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Mother rush to have their children vaccinated in a health centre in Nyala, South Darfur, on April 14 (Photo: Supplied)

Mothers of young children in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, expressed their gratefulness to the international community and the Sudanese authorities last week after a vaccination campaign started in the city and several other places in the state. A South Darfur health official told Radio Dabanga that 13 of the state’s 21 localities are not included because of insufficient financial means.

Aisha Ishag (30) spoke to Radio Dabanga correspondent Abdelmonim Maddibo “with great joy” from the child vaccination centre in Nyala on Wednesday, the day the children immunisation campaign started. She said she finally found an opportunity to vaccinate her nine-month-old son and get him his first dose to immunise him against childhood diseases.

Routine vaccination campaigns for children stopped since the outbreak of the war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in mid-April last year.

Ishag expressed her gratitude to the Sudanese and South Darfur health ministries and the organisations that contributed to delivering vaccination vaccines to South Darfur in light of the insecurity in the country caused by the war.

Mother Majda El Hasan said she could not describe her feelings of happiness “because I have suffered in the past months from fear for my child’s future”.

She was part of a group of mothers who had their infants vaccinated in the months following the outbreak of the war, but it later became clear that the vaccines were spoiled. “It is a difficult feeling when a mother does not find the opportunity to vaccinate her child against deadly childhood diseases,” El Hasan said.

More than routine vaccines

The vaccination campaign against childhood diseases was launched last week in eight of the South Darfur 21 localities, after a full-year hiatus caused by the outbreak of the war.

South Darfur came under control of the RSF in late October last year.

The vaccination centres in Nyala, Nyala North, and Kass, where the campaign kicked off on Wednesday, witnessed large numbers of mothers rushing to vaccinate their children, some of whom are more than ten months old and did not receive any vaccination against childhood diseases.

Nyala South Immunisation Officer Amna Malik explained that the 13 fixed centres in the locality give “routine vaccines” to the children. “From the age of one day to less than two years, in addition to muscular paralysis, staphylococcus aureus, and yellow fever vaccines at the age of nine months, as well as meningitis and measles doses for ages between nine months and a year and a half.”

In addition to the vaccination, vitamin A will be distributed. Children suffering from malnutrition will be checked and weighed.


The head of the Health Emergencies and Epidemic Control department of the South Darfur Ministry of Health, Hafez Nour, told Radio Dabanga that 13 localities are not included in the campaign due to the lack of funds.

“Unfortunately, the South Darfur government was unable to provide the budget to carry out the campaign and transport the vaccines to these localities. The state’s Expanded Immunisation Administration has now submitted a budget proposal to the federal Ministry of Health in Port Sudan to extend the vaccinations campaign to children in the rest of the localities.”

The current campaign is carried out with the support of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), USAid, and the International Medical Corps.

“It will help reduce the rates of childhood diseases that recently appeared in several areas in South Darfur, in particular measles and whooping cough, in addition to suspected cases of diphtheria, which can all be prevented by vaccination,” Nour noted.

“The 10 types of routine vaccines that arrived in the state, target children under one year of age, but as a result of the absence of vaccination for a long period, children under two years of age are included in the campaign, so we expect that the vaccines will run out within a short period,” he said and appealed to “the UN and international organisations, Sudanese civil society organisations, and health affairs charities to support the arrival of more vaccines to South Darfur so that all children obtain their doses against childhood diseases”.

Radio Dabanga reported a week ago about a large rubella (German measles) immunisation campaign in Sennar in southeast Sudan targeting about 1,360,500 children in the state.