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Sudan: Renewed fighting in Khartoum forces people to flee to Wad Madani

The rapid increase of displaced people in camps highlights the urgent need for basic medical care and other services.

Three MSF medical staff discuss patients at a mobile clinic in Wad Madani, Sudan.

Sudan 2023 © Ala Kheir/MSF

As heavy fighting resumes in Khartoum, Sudan upon the end of the most recent ceasefire, large numbers of people are fleeing the capital to surrounding cities like Wad Madani, where around 5,000 people were already living across three major displacement camps.

In one of the locations where Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) works, the number of displaced people rose from 300 to 2,800 in the last week. This rapid influx further highlights the urgent need for basic medical care and other services for all people displaced in this conflict.  

“Many of the displaced people arriving in Wad Madani from the capital lost not only all their belongings and livelihoods, but also family members during the fighting in Khartoum,” said Anja Wolz, an MSF medical coordinator. 

With support from staff at Sudan’s Ministry of Health, MSF teams have been running mobile clinics in several of the main locations where displaced people have gathered in Wad Madani. Since the start of May, they have seen more than 1,600 patients, most with respiratory tract infections, which are commonly associated with poor living conditions and lack of proper shelter.  

In addition, our teams treat patients with malaria; chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma; and skin lesions caused by allergies and scabies. We also provide vaccinations, psychological support, and maternal health care, including midwife services. In the past few weeks, MSF has been able to bring much-needed supplies to support these activities in Wad Madani. 

“The laboratory is not fully equipped but we continue to operate with what is available,” said MSF doctor, Ahmed Omer Aljack. “We have a good supply of medication and quick medical test kits for malaria, blood sugar, blood pressure, [and] pregnancy. We also collaborate with the Ministry of Health to transfer urgent cases to the hospital, and send an MSF medic along with the patient to follow up.”  

MSF is also concerned about water and sanitation conditions in camps for displaced people, particularly with the rainy season approaching. Malaria cases are already beginning to increase and there are concerns about the spread of dengue, a disease often linked to the coming rains and the spread of mosquitoes in camps like this.  

“The goal of our teams in Wad Madani is also to prevent an outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera, which could easily lead to a full-blown disaster in the current situation. MSF teams are working hard to improve of the hygiene conditions in camps and ensure access to safe drinking water,” said Wolz. 

MSF is currently assessing how we can expand our activities to respond to the new influx of people fleeing violence in Khartoum.  

MSF works in eleven states in Sudan, including in Khartoum and in Darfur. This includes treating war wounded people in areas of conflict, providing health care and water and sanitation services for refugees and displaced people in Al-Gedaref and Al Jazirah states, treating malnutrition, and providing basic health care in Blue Nile State and donations of medical and other supplies to health facilities. 

Sudan crisis response