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Somaya Ali, a 22-year-old woman, was forced to give birth to her first child, Muhammad, on the side of the public road, after she went into labour. Because it was her first birth, she did not know what had happened to her, so she sought the help of her mother, who knew the symptoms of labor, so she tried to contact the neighborhood midwife, but due to poor communication, she did not receive a response from the other party, so her mother decided to take her to the neighboring neighborhood where the midwife resides.

On the way, battles broke out near the “Shark Nile Hospital”, one of the most famous hospitals that was bombed by warplanes, and the mother and daughter found themselves in the midst of bullets and shells, and it became impossible for them to return home, so they decided to seek refuge in a nearby midwife, but the will wanted to put Sumaya had her baby while she was on the side of the road, and she named him “Muhammad.”

Doctors say that the health situation has gone beyond the dangerous stage, as many patients have lost their lives as a result of the lack of medicine. Hospitals, like other regions, have turned into military barracks for the “rapid support” forces, including the central maternity hospital, known as the “Days Hospital” in Omdurman.

Hospitals stop working

Several hospitals stopped after the outbreak of fighting between the army and the “rapid support” in the middle of last month, but the Ministry of Health announced the return of 3 hospitals to provide service to patients. These are “Bashaer Hospital” in Khartoum, “Nyala Teaching Hospital” and “Al-Daman Hospital” in El-Obeid, North Kordofan. A large number of health personnel have left Sudan, and others have been internally displaced because hospitals have turned most of them into “barracks”, even the female workers from which only a few can be reached due to the insecurity of the roads.

And the Sudanese army said, in a statement, yesterday, that 22 hospitals and health facilities are still under the control of the “rapid support” forces, which have converted some of them into military bases, considering this an “unprecedented violation of international humanitarian law, the customs of war and the ethics of fighting.” The army statement added, “In a flagrant violation of the Jeddah Humanitarian Agreement, the rebels are still using citizens as human shields, and using homes and public facilities as platforms to attack our forces, and attacks on public and private property have increased.”

Doctors offering to help

Fighting escalated in areas south of Khartoum, on Tuesday (AFP)

Volunteer doctors published their phone numbers on social media platforms, announcing their willingness to provide medical consultations to patients, and confirmed that they have no objection to visiting them if they are near their areas of residence, and others have turned parts of their homes into clinics frequented by residents of the neighborhood for small sums.

Doctor Hassan Muhammad, along with some of his colleagues, established a “group” on the “WhatsApp” communication site, which they turned into a clinic over the air. Hassan says, “We receive about 20 patients a day, and we do not require payment of interview fees, because we know the conditions the Sudanese are going through now.”

The Federal Ministry of Health says that 11 doctors were killed in the war, some of whom died inside the hospitals that were bombed, and others while they were going to or returning from their places of work, while the number of war dead, according to the Sudan Doctors Syndicate, reached 530 dead, in addition to 2948 wounded. However, Dr. Abdullah Moataz expected the number of dead and wounded to be higher, because many were killed in their areas of residence and were buried in their homes and were not included in the official reports.

Destroyed cars and buildings in the central market in Khartoum during clashes between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (Reuters)

In the city of El Geneina in West Darfur state, which witnessed fierce fighting, the city’s health facilities are still out of service as a result of the war, sabotage and looting of central drug stores, doctors’ residences and Red Crescent centers, forcing citizens to travel to distant hospitals to receive treatment.

The health situation has deteriorated in states far from the combat zones. In the state of Kassala, in eastern Sudan, hundreds of cases are received from the outskirts of the state, whose teaching hospital suffers from a shortage of oxygen cylinders, and an acute shortage of blood bags and life-saving medicines. Witnesses said, “There is an acute shortage of emergency and sterilization supplies, and the dialysis center suffers from a lack of necessary solutions, which are not enough for more than a week, which threatens kidney patients with danger.”

The Sudanese Doctors Syndicate says that 66 percent of the country’s private hospitals in areas close to the clashes have stopped serving. Out of 89 basic hospitals in Khartoum and the states, 59 have stopped serving, and only 30 hospitals are fully or partially functioning, some of which provide first aid only, and are also threatened with closure due to the lack of staff, medical supplies, water and electricity.

According to medical reports, 17 hospitals have been bombed and 20 hospitals have been forcibly evacuated since the beginning of the war. Human rights experts said that the bombing of hospitals is the responsibility of both sides of the conflict, and added: “No party has the right to use hospitals for military purposes, or to station near them. The bombing of hospitals is completely unacceptable, and the use of weapons with this intensity puts us under international humanitarian law.”