Sudan doctors sound alarm over hospitals in Nyala and Um Rawaba

Entrance of the Nyala Teaching Hospital (File photo: social media)

Doctors in the South Darfur capital reported that several health facilities, including a number of hospitals, are out of service. The joint rebel force in Nyala has formed a committee to secure the city. The Um Rawaba Hospital in North Kordofan is facing an acute shortage of medical supplies.

Ahmed El Tijani, a paediatric specialist, reported from Nyala yesterday that least three private clinics and three hospitals – Nyala Teaching Hospital, parts of the Nyala Specialist Hospital, and the Nyala Police Hospital – are out of service. The Italian Children’s Hospital ceased inpatient services due to staff shortages.

The specialist noted that some health facilities, including El Nahda Centre -whose upper floor was previously hit by a shell- and the Nyala Military Hospital, are still operational despite challenges. The El Wehda Hospital continues to operate with a 24-hour emergency room.

According to El Tijani, Nyala Specialist Hospital continues to provide services in the orthopaedic and urinary tract departments but with additional fees. “The dialysis department has faced repeated interruptions due to power outages, fuel shortages, lack of dialysis aids, and security concerns”, he added.

The Sudanese-Turkish Hospital in the city similarly experiences repeated downtime due to power outages, fuel shortages, and staff’s limited ability to reach the hospital. “The visible militarisation of the Sudanese-Turkish Hospital by Rapid Support Forces (RSF) soldiers is making it difficult for civilians to access care,” he said. The hospital remains crowded beyond capacity due to the influx of injured people placing significant pressure on the medical staff.

All health facilities are in dire need of medical personnel, in particular the Nyala Teaching Hospital. Many staff members have fled their homes, seeking shelter in other places in the country. On August 25, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) reported that its staff, along with tens of thousands of other civilians, were trapped in Nyala due to violence.

Regarding the availability of medicines, El Tijani expressed concern about critical shortages of emergency, life-saving, and chronic disease medications. Dialysis medications and emergency blood bags are reportedly scarce and expensive on the black market, costing up to SDG14,000 for one bag. “Surgical sutures, anaesthesia medications, gauze, surgical antiseptics, and other medical supplies are limited, and vaccines to immunise children have been entirely absent since the beginning of the war”.

Joint protection force

The joint rebel force dispatched from North Darfur in the end of August to protect Nyala, has formed a committee to secure residents, public facilities, and markets in the city.

The force arrived to Nyala from El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, on August 27 to “provide security and protect the property and lives of residents”.

Committee member Hafez Ishag told Radio Dabanga that the committee includes representatives of the joint forces, along with civilian representatives of the residents of Nyala. “We are working to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, and people who fled to safer neighbourhoods and are currently residing in schools, public squares, or hosted by locals,” he explained.

Residents of Nyala are cautiously anticipating further clashes between the Sudanese army (SAF) and RSF, which are stationed in different neighbourhoods across Nyala. Some displaced families are reportedly gradually returning to their homes in Nyala’s northern and southern neighbourhoods, including El Jir, which witnessed fierce shelling in mid-August.

The humanitarian situation in Nyala remains dire, marked by food shortages, lack of services, lack of liquidity, and the closure of most markets. Many neighbourhoods in central Nyala were severely affected by battles, resulting in widespread destruction of homes, markets, roads, power lines, and other critical infrastructure.

El Tijani told Radio Dabanga that “a convoy is on its way from El Fasher to deliver humanitarian aid to Nyala. It is expected to arrive on Tuesday along with military reinforcements for the joint force.”

Yesterday, the coordination officer for the Nyala Emergency Room, Ahmed Younis, told Radio Dabanga that all hospitals in Nyala were out of service “except for the Turkish hospital and a number of health centres run by volunteers”.

Um Rawaba

Um Rawaba Hospital in North Kordofan is facing challenges with power outages, supply interruptions, and financial difficulties, leaving patients in critical condition.

Director Muzamil Bashir stated that the major challenge facing the hospital consists of power outages, “as power is the main driver of all operations in the hospital’s departments, including laboratory examinations, blood banks, and refrigerators”.

Bashir explained that oxygen, intravenous fluids, and emergency medications are depleted at the hospital. “We are also about to run out of anaesthesia in the next three days, and operation monitors and incubators have stopped working”, he added.

The hospital is also facing major financial problems, as it relies on popular effort and symbolic contributions. All medical staff in the hospital have not received salaries for seven months.

Regarding dialysis patients, Bashir said that they are in very critical condition as patients now only receive one dialysis per week on average.

SAF-RSF clashes in Um Rawaba led to the closure of the town’s market and widespread panic in the beginning of August. The tensions prompted authorities in North Kordofan to announce a state-wide curfew and motorcycle ban on August 3.