The Darfur Conflict
It was tagged by the United Nations as the "world's greatest current humanitarian crisis". It all began in early 2003 as a result of an internal armed conflict. In 2004, at least two million people were affected by the war. This resulted in hordes of communities being driven out of their homes, and displaced within the Greater Darfur Region. About 200,000 refugees also fled across the border into Chad.
MERCY Malaysia sent a Rapid Assessment Team in early August 2004 to El Geneina, the capital city of West Darfur to assess the situation and identify areas in which we could provide aid. During the early stages of our presence, the team collaborated with Islamic Relief UK. We identified areas of health needs that we could provide; and soon after, established a Base Camp and Field Office in El-Geneina, West Darfur. Gathering sticks and twigs to construct their IDP homes (Photo by Art Chen, courtesy of The Star Publication)
MERCY Malaysia volunteer, Dr. Abdul Adzim, treating a patient Two young infants being cared by family members in a mobile clinic (Photo by Art Chen, courtesy of The Star Publication) Throughout 2004, various medical and humanitarian relief programs were implemented in El Geneina Hospital, the only hospital in the city. From August through to December, we deployed 7 doctors and 3 nurses. A significant number of specialists served to support the medical needs in the hospital, as well as mobile clinics located within the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps in West Darfur. Working together with the Saudi Red Crescent, MERCY Malaysia also distributed food items to the inpatients of El Geneina Hospital.
Institutional Feeding Programme (IFP)
El Geneina Hospital is a rudimentary hospital, therefore, it is not fully equipped or enjoy the facilities of a modern hospital. Many parts of the hospital needed to be upgraded and rehabilitated.
One of the services in the El-Geneina Hospital which MERCY Malaysia undertook was to rehabilitate the hospital's kitchen. This facility had not been functional or equipped to provide food for its inpatients. As a result, family members camp within the hospital compound to cook for them. On 24th November 2004, we initiated an Institutional Feeding Programme through structural rehabilitation of the hospital kitchen and began providing inpatients with nutritious and balanced supplements.
This marked the beginning of MERCY Malaysia's reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes in the El Geneina Hospital. The hospital kitchen was renovated and rehabilitated. With a donation received from the Saudi Red Crescent, MERCY Malaysia constructed a water tank, a feature crucial to the operations of the institutional feeding programme.
A dietary programme for inpatients was formulated by MERCY Malaysia's volunteer dieticians and nutritionists. The menu was designed to reflect the dietary needs of inpatients while taking into consideration the traditional diet and eating habits of the people of Sudan. It is also prepared in compliance with the rules and regulations set by the United Nations World Food Programme. Our volunteers also provided training to the local staff on the running and management of the Institutional Feeding Programme, as part of the organisation's capacity building functions in West Darfur.
Reproductive Health Unit
The Maternity Ward in El Geneina Hospital was ill equipped and the building of a Reproductive Health Unit is, therefore, necessary to provide the IDPs with comprehensive reproductive healthcare. With the aim of reducing morbidity and mortality rate, MERCY Malaysia takes on the responsibility of extending the Maternity Ward, as well as the construction of part the new Reproductive Health Unit.
By the end 2004, MERCY Malaysia was ready to begin the rehabilitation project on the reproductive health facilities. The rehabilitation of this unit is constructed using local manpower, and is being managed and monitored by MERCY Malaysia's Project Engineer.
Kerinding 2 Pre-School
MERCY Malaysia set up a Pre-School for children between 4-6 years old at Kerinding 2 IDP camp located in El Geneina. We launched on 27th November 2004 and registered 350 children. MERCY Malaysia collaborated with the Sudanese Ministry of Education in devising the programme for the pre-school. We also included activities such as play therapy, art therapy and music therapy. MERCY Malaysia deployed volunteer educationists and clinical psychologists to train local Sudanese to become facilitators in the pre-school with the prospects of managing the school on their own.
MERCY Malaysia undertook the construction of the pre-school. The structure was constructed in the form of Sudanese huts, bearing in mind the comfort of students, trainers and the needs of schoolroom activities.
Congregating in the school ground. The school follows Sudanese architectural features, using natural materials and was constructed by the locals MERCY Malaysia's mission in Sudan was made successful with the dedication of 24 members, comprising doctors, nurses, psychologists, nutritionists, dieticians, logisticians, engineers, architect, educationists and staff.