It’s been 9 months since deadly conflict began in Sudan, and sadly, the situation has worsened. In early April, violence erupted in the streets of Khartoum between two warring factions of Sudan’s military: the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. As a result, thousands of people have died in the violence. About 6.6 million people have risked their lives to leave conflict-affected areas of Sudan and get to safety. Here’s an update on Sudan and our effort to help people affected by this heartbreaking violence.

Medical Teams has worked in Sudan since 2021, bringing life-saving medical care to more than 200,000 Ethiopian refugees displaced by civil war in Ethiopia. When violence broke out in Khartoum, we jumped into action to help care for the influx of Sudanese people into the refugee settlements we currently work in. Now, we’ve expanded our program to provide care in the While Nile region, where cholera is threatening thousands. Additionally, increased violence in

Here’s what’s happening now in Sudan. Read on to find out how you can help the courageous people living through this terrifying time.

Escalating violence threatens millions

As many of us around the world prepared for Christmas, Sudan faced a nightmare. The brutal conflict ravaging the country spread to a central region, Al Jazirah State, and is currently threatening its capital city, Wad Madani. Though the fighting is nearing Medical Teams’ country office and programs, our staff are all currently safe and standing by. Just last week, Al Jazirah was one of the few regions where people were able to get medical care in a safe environment.

Wad Madani serves as a humanitarian hub in Sudan. As conflict intensifies, many humanitarian agencies — including the United Nations and other international organizations — are being forced to withdraw staff. As a result, thousands of people who fled from violence in other regions will now, once again, have limited access to health care. Nearly 6 million people live in Al Jazirah State, with an estimated half to be children. Of those millions, 500,000 people are from other areas of Sudan who fled to Al Jazirah for safety.

Caring for people in Sudan

Mobile medical team setup for people internally displaced by the conflict in Khartoum
Our mobile medical teams offer basic health services to people displaced by conflict.

Despite many calls for ceasefire from the international community, the war has continued. Now, the escalating violence has created an extreme humanitarian emergency. In addition to the threat of violence, many people are facing food and water shortages.

Malnutrition rates and disease outbreaks, like measles, acute watery diarrhea, and dengue, are rising at an alarming rate. Access to health care is limited. In some areas, health care is nonexistent because of the damage to Sudan’s infrastructure. It’s estimated that up to 80% of hospitals in conflict-affected regions are not functional. In fact, in many cases, attacks target health facilities.

It’s easy to imagine a lack of health care as, for example, someone not being able to get a wound or injury bandaged, especially in times of conflict. That’s true, but the effects go beyond what we might see in the news. It means someone with diabetes can’t get their medication. Or that an expecting mother can’t see a doctor for her prenatal check-up. It could also mean that a person with a mental health condition can’t see their counselor or access medication. Clearly, the consequences of no health care are dire.

Lack of access to health care is deadly

Without access to health care, people die, even from preventable causes. Medical Teams is working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’re caring for as many people as we can at our existing clinics in refugee camps and with our mobile medical team. We’re providing health care services to refugees and the Sudanese people living in the area alike.

Often, people are exhausted and terrified when they arrive. We’re welcoming them with open arms and hearts, ready to listen to their stories, treat their physical ailments, and lend them a helping hand.

On average, we serve more than 170 courageous people every day for their basic health care needs. This includes about 15 mothers daily who need prenatal care and postnatal care, while also caring for their infants. Additionally, we’re helping 1 or 2 mothers each day safely give birth with a skilled birth attendant. That said, humanitarian access to many regions is difficult and is often interrupted by fighting. It’s a complex situation that grows more complicated by the day.

Measles outbreak threatens thousands

One especially tragic update on Sudan is that a deadly measles outbreak is threatening thousands of people. Overcrowding in refugee camps, the interruption of regular vaccinations, and the disruption of regular health care systems are having a dramatic impact on people’s health.

One area in particular, the White Nile region, has been particularly affected by the influx of people. In the last few months, the number of people in White Nile refugee camps more than doubled. The overcrowding led to a deadly measles outbreak — a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air — that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of children.

In the White Nile region alone, there are about 330,000 refugees from other countries and more than 1 million people from other areas of Sudan living in refugee camps. They all deserve the dignity of health care, especially during this time of terrifying conflict.

Medical Teams responds

Mobile medical team setup for people internally displaced by the conflict in Khartoum
Our mobile medical team is there to help people internally displaced by the conflict in Sudan.

Dr. Cecilia Lopez, one of Medical Teams’ health advisors, describes the steps we’ve taken to help people in Sudan. She says, “Thanks to our staff in Sudan, the majority of whom are Sudanese, we were able to continue providing health services to the affected population after the conflict erupted. As the conflict continued, we were able to expand our areas of intervention in order to reach out to a larger population in need.”

Medical Teams partnered with the U.N. Refugee Agency to assess the conditions of 7 camps in the White Nile state. Now, with their funding support, we’re expanding our programs across the region to serve more people with loving, life-saving health care.

Dr. Cecilia describes the expansion, saying,

“Currently, we have expanded services in Gedaref State, increasing support for an additional 20 nutrition sites and 2 health facilities providing health and nutrition services.”

She goes on to explain that, “We have also expanded to a new state, White Nile, taking over 2 health facilities previously run by the Ministry of Health as well as implementing a mobile medical unit to provide services to an additional 4 refugee camps.”

We’re helping treat the measles outbreak, focusing specifically on pregnant women and children under the age of 5. In addition, we’re supplying families facing malnutrition with emergency supplementary nutrition and nutrition treatment. We’re doubling both the number of staff we have and the number of clinics we support, so we’ll also be able to help more people in Sudan.

Children dying from preventable causes

Limited access to health care, lack of food, and disease outbreaks are taking their toll on the youngest in Sudan. Between May and September, at least 1,200 children under the age of 5 died in refugee camps in the White Nile state. The cause is largely measles and malnutrition. Sadly, that number is expected to grow in the coming months.

The outbreak of measles is partially to blame for the death of these children. But diseases like cholera, malaria, and dengue are also on the rise. And according to the World Health Organization, more than 3.4 million children under the age of 5 are acutely malnourished across Sudan.

Now, the U.N. Children’s Fund is warning that many thousands of newborns born in Sudan in the coming months won’t live to see the end of the year. The harsh reality is that about 330,000 newborns and their mothers are at risk of dying before January because of a lack of access to health care and nutrition services.

Our President and CEO, Martha Holley Newsome, says of the situation in Sudan,

“It’s one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman or child right now because of a lack of food, access to health care, and the risk of infectious disease.”

These statistics are stark, and might feel overwhelming. Our team in Sudan is working hard to protect these precious children — but they need your help.

Put your love in action

Mother and daughter being checked by staff at the mobile medical team
Mother and daughter being checked by staff at the mobile medical team in Sudan.

This isn’t the update on Sudan we hoped to write. Despite the tragedy unfolding in Sudan, we aren’t seeing the same kind of fundraising response we did for the conflict in Ukraine or the conflict in Gaza and Israel. In fact, even the U.N. is calling for more aid. The situation is heartbreaking. People in Sudan are just as deserving of help as anyone else in a different crisis around the world.

People in Sudan still need medical care. As the news moves on from featuring Sudan, the focus and funding does too. But the need is still just as great.

You can be a part of the compassionate, big-hearted community caring for our neighbors in Sudan with a gift today. When you donate, it means a mother can bring her child, sick with malaria or cholera, to a provider for treatment. Your generosity makes it possible for doctors to have supplies and medicine. Your gift means a family can rest a little easier in the middle of a terrifying time.

You can hold the hands of people in Sudan living through this conflict today. Rush your gift to the Sudanese people now!


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Portions of this post have been updated. It was originally posted in September 2023.

photo of Lauren Hobson


Lauren Hobson
Copywriter & Editor