As the situation in war-ravaged Sudan deteriorates, its nurses’ leader has asked the International Council of Nurses (ICN) to mobilise its member National Nursing Associations (NNAs) to lobby their governments to urge the warring parties to cease hostilities immediately.
President of the Sudan Nurses Association Mowafag Hassan said the situation in the Sudanese capital Khartoum continues to be dangerous, despite a three-day cease-fire, during which there has still been sporadic gunfire.
Mr Hassan thanked the ICN for its support and asked nurses everywhere to sign a petition from Sudan’s nurses and other health care workers to the United Nations Security Council, calling for an immediate cease-fire, access for humanitarian workers to the sick and injured, and urgently required medical and emergency food supplies.
In a second call with ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton, Mr Hassan said:
“The situation is very dangerous. There have been more than 200 deaths and more than 1,500 people have been injured. More than two-thirds of hospitals are out of service and there is a lack of medical supplies, disinfection supplies and oxygen. Health care workers are moving out of the capital to find safer areas, ambulances have been attacked and damaged and their drivers kidnapped, and the vehicles that remain are not able to carry out their normal activities or reach the hospitals.”
Mr Catton expressed his condolences on behalf of the world’s nurses to the family and friends of a nurse called Mubarak, who had been killed in the conflict,
“Yet again we are seeing the incredible courage of the Sudanese nurses and healthcare workers who are continuing to deliver care whilst putting themselves in terrible danger. We recognise their immense bravery and the nurses of the world stand in solidarity with them. Nurses light the way for both health and peace and their rights must be protected, to not do so is abhorrent.”
He called on NNAs and nurses everywhere to sign the petition to the UN Security Council as the most effective way to put pressure on the international community to take action to relieve nurses and the people of Sudan from the terrible effects of the war.
Mr Hassan said that while hospitals are not currently being targeted, they are being damaged in the crossfire of ongoing military action, despite the cease-fire being in place.
“There are many bodies in the street, but nobody can get to them, and we are concerned that there will be outbreaks of disease or epidemics. Many people have been displaced by the conflict and we are concerned, especially about children under five, who may become malnourished.
‘I invite all international organisations, starting with the ICN, to publicise our petition nationally and internationally, because we need safe passage for humanitarian staff to be able to save civilian lives. The situation is critical: there are gunshots and fires everywhere, and we want to save people’s lives.”
Download the communique here