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Medical Program in North-Sudan

Founded in 1990, this program, which coordinates the efforts of 70 people, all Sudanese (included 17 doctors and 5 chemists) , provides each year nearly 50 000 consultations.

In particular, it provides medical assistance to the population living in IDP camps around Khartoum, the capital of North-Sudan.

Living conditions in these camps is precarious, without basic sanitation, and often (for 70% of them) without access to water. As scrap and waste is everywhere, there are numerous wounds caused by glass and other metallic splinters and which, left untreated, can cause severe infections.

Some clinics are located in poor neighbourhoods of Khartoum itself.
In Khartoum, a basic consultation (without deeper analysis and prescription) from a doctor in a public hospital, cost about 3 CHF (2,5 €), and about 11 CHF (9€) in a private clinic; in the case of a specialist, fees can get as high as 50 CHF (41€).
Keep in mind that the average monthly salary is 84 CHF (69€), and that the population benefiting from this program is among the poorest of the poor, often not able to buy itself a transportation ticket.

As it is very difficult for the target populations to move along, it is SVDP that comes to them, either with mobile clinics or with health centres set up in their camps.

All needed drugs are bought in the country. Those distributed via mobile clinics are given free to the children of the Archdiocese schools and to the people living in remote camps. To the other patients is asked a 0.60 CHF (0,50 €) contribution, if they can afford it.

Each of our 4 dispensaries has its own laboratory, which enables the doctors to optimize their care. This program also includes:

  • 3 health centres that are opened only on Fridays, the official Muslim day of rest;

  • medical examinations in women's prisons (women are often detained with their babies);

  • 6 sites visited weekly by two midwives and an ambulance dedicated to the monitoring of pregnant women (80% of births occur at home. In addition, according to Islamic law, mothers who give birth to children out of wedlock are, according to the sharia law, liable to being stoned to death or to life imprisonment. Fear incites many of them to abort or to give birth clandestinely, in awful and often fatal conditions). Each year, 4000 women are benefitting from this obstetric follow-up.

  • medical care provided to the children of our Street Children Program.

The most commonly treated diseases are: bronchitis, urinary tract infections, venereal diseases, malaria, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, intestinal worms, arthritis, skin diseases, eye problems (3000 patients per year)...

In 2010, the cost of a consultation was 5.95 CHF (4,90 €), all charges and drugs included.

Deacon Robert Ferrua, in charge of Caritas Monaco, has visited the programs in March 2010. He reports:

"On Wednesday, we leave early in the morning to reach the Comboni Health Center, named after one of the two Sudanese Saints who founded the Combonian congregation. After a lively drive in the very busy streets of Khartoum, we leave the city and head towards the desert. After a few miles, we left the paved road to take a track in the desert, with no sign whatsoever, up to a camp of displaced people from Darfur.

How destitute, far below the poverty line! Many houses -if you can call it that- build out of bricks made of wet desert sand mixed with straw, then sun-dried. They consist of a ground floor only, and most often a surrounding wall. It is worth noting that these shelters for sub-poor people do not last long: they are not solid and constantly need to be rebuilt. You can see here and there the tents of the last arrived: they are made of sticks and recovered cardboard packaging, with jute bags roof.

The board "Saint Vincent de Paul Comboni Health Center" tells us that we have arrived, after having crossed several small donkey-driven karts that carried old oil drums filled with water.

We are greeted by the director of the center, a graduate from a Romanian university. This young, distinguished and highly skilled man is doing a wonderful job with very few resources.

Despite the lack of equipment, the center is very clean and tidy.
Nearly 12,000 patients are treated here every year. The center has an ambulance.

It is fairly complete, and divided into small rooms for each consultation:

  • AIDS (some 30 persons daily),
  • children vaccination
  • nutrition (or rather malnutrition)
  • gynaecology (more than 1500)
  • dentistry
  • ophthalmology (with only a single table with letters of various sizes)
  • a small drugstore held by a nun, sister Charleen,
  • minor operations (if ever serious surgery is needed, the ambulance can drive the patients to the hospital in Khartoum).

This is one of the 12 clinics run by Saint Vincent de Paul that we have visited in Sudan. It serves a population of over 500,000 people."


Since January 2015, ASASE stopped supporting this program, and all humanitarian programs implemented since 1986 in Sudan.

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