219,000 women are currently expecting a baby in the capital, where more than five million people live without water or electricity and ration what little food they have left.
With the start of the war in Khartoum, Esraa Hasrasoul had to hastily remove her twins from the incubator because the hospital they were in was bombed, but one of them died due to a lack of oxygen and the lack of an ambulance.
The young mother was able to reach a small maternity home in Omdurman, the northwestern suburb of Khartoum, where she watched over the safety of her surviving child.
When the first bombs fell on the hospital on April 20, “we were told that everyone had to be evacuated immediately and that we had to take our twins,” recounts Israa, who was wearing a colorful headscarf. “There was no ambulance, so we had to transport them as much as possible, and one of them died due to a lack of oxygen,” she added.
Israa is not the only mother affected by the war that broke out on April 15th. According to the United Nations, “24,000 women are expected to give birth in the coming weeks” in Khartoum.
According to the same source, 219,000 women are currently waiting to have a baby in the capital, where more than five million people live without water or electricity, and they ration the few remaining food.
The small, four-storey Nada Hospital remains open against all odds, especially thanks to generous donations from the Sudanese American Medical Association, its director, Mohamed Fatih Rahman, told AFP, wearing a stethoscope around his neck and glasses over his nose.
With this money, which was collected through solidarity channels from expatriates in a country isolated from the global banking system in light of the embargo imposed in the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, “we were able to deliver 500 infants between natural births or through a caesarean section and receive 80 children in the pediatrics department since The beginning of the war,” he said.
Around him, premature babies cling to life in incubators while young children cry as doctors give them injections. In the rooms lit by dim neon lights, ceiling fans seek to mitigate the severity of the heat, which exceeded forty degrees outside. From time to time, the sound of shelling and explosions is heard from afar.
The war has killed 700 people and injured 5,000, and medical efforts are focused, especially on the wounded. The few hospitals that have not been bombed or occupied by militants now only handle emergency cases. “Since the beginning of the conflict, there have been no obstetric and pediatric services,” said Dr. Fatih Rahman.
Fatima and her husband, Jaber, went to many hospitals and clinics that did not receive them before meeting Fateh Rahman. Since then, the doctor treats their son, who has meningitis.
“everything will fall apart”
Before the war broke out between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, the lives of mothers and their newborn babies were in danger in Sudan.
In this country, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, three women out of every thousand die during childbirth, eight times more than in neighboring Egypt, for example. Out of a thousand children, 56 die before reaching the age of five, compared to 19 in Egypt.
To find a medical clinic, a third of Sudanese have to walk more than an hour. If reached, only 30 percent of essential medicines will be available for treatment.
Today, Nada’s young medical staff fears it will soon have to stop everything.
“Our stocks of medicines are starting to dwindle,” says Alaa Ahmed, who is in charge of the pharmacy at the maternity clinic. “If the situation continues like this, everything will collapse.”
Restocking medicines or infant formula in the central warehouses of the Ministry of Health is difficult, as they are located on the other side of the Nile in one of the areas adjacent to the airport where battles are taking place.
The army accuses the RSF of “preventing everyone from reaching it”.
As a result, Alaa Ahmed says, “many people ask me for medicine, but unfortunately I can’t provide it for them.”