Pregnant Women and New Mothers Resilient Despite Ten Months of Conflict in Sudan


Pregnant Women and New Mothers Resilient Despite Ten Months of Conflict in Sudan

Ten months into the crisis in Sudan, there are over 108,000 pregnant women struggling to access the medical support they need. In areas affected by conflict, two thirds (67%) of hospitals are closed and several maternity hospitals are out of action.

Relief International is one of the only organizations working to provide critical healthcare in Sudan amidst the intensifying conflict. Health facilities across the country face huge challenges in procuring medical supplies and transporting staff to work safely.

In El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur where many displaced people have settled, women and children are facing the added risk of waterborne diseases as a result of the water supply being disrupted by the crisis.

Malnutrition is rife, with many families reporting symptoms such as stunted growth among children in their communities. Reasons given to explain the difficulty accessing food include a lack of money, insecurity caused by the conflict, unavailability of food at markets and soaring prices.

Faizah* was eight months pregnant when the conflict started and was forced to flee to a camp for displaced people in El Fasher. She says, “When the crisis struck Tawila, it disrupted our peaceful life and we lost everything. I had to travel on a mule for two days, which was very painful being eight months pregnant.

“Once we arrived, we had no food or shelter for the first few days. Then I felt the labour pains of childbirth. Now I am a mother of five and we still lack food, safe shelter and water as well as enough blankets to protect my baby from the winter cold.”

Through a healthcare unit in the camp she is living in, Relief International and UNICEF have provided Faizah with medical tests, midwife support and vitamins, as well as medicine and nutritional support for her baby who was malnourished. Faizah has also joined a Mothers Support Group established by Relief International where women share their experiences as well as solutions to their challenges.


“We pray the crisis will end soon. Being a mother, I understand what other women and girls are going through. We only want a safe future for our children,” say Faizah.

Relief International and UNICEF are supporting women and their children in 32 locations in North Darfur. Amongst other support, the organisations have provided over 5,000 pregnant women with iron folic acid supplements, 6,000 women with antenatal care visits and almost 8,000 with Mother Support Groups to date.

Kashif Shafique, Country Director at Relief International in Sudan says, “Ten months into this crisis, many pregnant women and new mothers are facing huge challenges accessing the healthcare, food and clean water they need.”

“Despite this we see incredible resilience amongst the communities impacted. Relief International is doing all that we can to provide critical healthcare and other essential supplies but the crisis is severely underfunded and more support is urgently needed.”


A mini-water yard inside Zamzam Camp supplies about 2,000 households with water, Sudan. Elie Gardner/RI

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