With the crisis in East Sudan continuing, UNDP is exploring longer-term solutions to support in-need refugees, and vulnerable local host communities; Addressing urgent health requirements, UNDP has rehabilitated the Um Rakuba health centre, located inside the refugee camp, increasing capacity up to 1,000 patients per week; Three mobile clinics, with a combined daily capacity of 180 patients, have arrived in the East to support refugee camps, points of entry, and local communities, including HIV and TB services; Civil works to rehabilitate another five health facilities are progressing.
As the influx of refugees continues along the Ethiopia-Sudan border, more than 61,000 arrivals to date, limited healthcare services are under pressure – both for refugees and existing facilities for local communities.
Responding to the crisis, UNDP and partners have undertaken civil works – expanding health infrastructure by rehabilitating the Um Rakuba health centre – as well as deploying three mobile clinics to the wider area.
From a two-room clinic in disrepair, supporting up to 140 patients weekly, the Um Rakuba centre has expanded to six areas, assisting up to 1,000 patients per week. While regular services continued, locally employed laborers undertook extensive construction and repair, adding an examination room, emergency room, delivery room, pharmacy, and an HIV testing room.
A range of equipment and supplies have been provided, including new patient beds, a medical waste incinerator and medical storage equipment – while solar panels are being added to ensure refrigeration for medicines.
International NGO Mercy Corps is providing medical personnel for day-to-day operations. WHO and the Global Fund have provided critically-needed medicines, and IOM is supporting the construction of latrines.
The clinic rehabilitation comes at a critical time, with the camp near full capacity – 20,500 refugees are currently based at the site.
Addressing basic service need gaps elsewhere, three mobile clinics, funded by the Global Fund, have deployed in East Sudan to provide health services for up to 180 patients per day.
Two clinics are positioned at the Um Rakuba and Tunaydbah refugee camps providing voluntary health checks, and HIV and tuberculosis-related care. The other remains deployable to other locations as required, such as points of entry and neighbouring communities, as well as serving as a backup.
"The crisis has resulted in pressing health needs among refugees and the communities hosting them, with existing infrastructure struggling under an influx of people," says Trond Husby, UNDP Sudan's Crisis Coordinator.
"As the situation continues, longer-term, durable solutions are increasingly necessary, providing help for those in need now, and important community assets for the future."
To date, UNDP has allocated or received around US$4 million to support crisis response, primarily focused on community stabilization and improving access to basic services, energy and health for refugees and local communities.
Currently, five additional health facilities are planned for rehabilitation or construction – in Taweet, Doka, Homra, Mahala and Rashid – with rapid assessments underway for development of other community facilities in relevant areas.
In response to the ongoing crisis in Eastern Sudan, UNDP has mobilized emergency response teams and resources to address urgent needs, longer-term basic service gaps, durable solutions for refugees, and broader stabilization and early recovery initiatives. Efforts have focused primarily on Um Rakuba and Tunaydbah refugee camps, in addition to seven surrounding host communities, and the fluctuating numbers of refugees transiting Hamdayet. Early UNDP intervention in a crisis enables people to use the benefits of humanitarian action to seize development opportunities, build resilience, and support sustainable recovery.