Sudan: Meningitis DREF Bulletin No. MDRSD003 - Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

Summary: CHF 219,497 (USD 180,507 or EUR 135,492) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 27 April 2007 to contribute to a coordinated effort mounted by the Government of Sudan and various in-country and international humanitarian agencies to respond to the outbreak of meningitis in Sudan. The disease affected over 12,000 people and killed nearly 1,000 people. The DREF contribution went to procure 6,700 doses of drugs (antibiotics) sufficient for 6,700 patients. Without the medication, 50 to 80 percent of those who developed active meningitis would have died.

Meningitis is highly contagious but preventable. To stop its spread, a part of the Federation's disaster funding was utilized to support a community mobilization campaign led by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) in the most at risk states. Through community-based volunteer training and distribution of printed education materials, it is estimated that the SRCS was able to reach some 500,000 people. As a result, these people became aware of the dangers of meningitis as well as its prevention and treatment.

The high tide of meningitis receded with the arrival of rains in July 2007. The ensuing flooding, however, started a new series of troubles. Thousands of homes were damaged, hundreds of thousands were displaced or affected by acute water diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera, malaria and rift valley fever (RVF). Humanitarian organizations remobilized themselves to respond to what was subsequently described by many Sudanese as the worst flooding in their living memory. The SRCS volunteers trained through the DREF operation played a vital role in helping their communities protect themselves from new health risks. Their messages, basic but essential to protect lives, encouraged safer practices, better hygiene, household level water treatment and other measures to prevent another epidemic. An extraordinary effort was exerted to extend a helping hand to those most in danger.

The DREF contribution also sponsored two workshops organized by the SRCS to improve its preparedness for future health emergencies. The workshops were attended by SRCS staff and volunteers from all over the country as well as other key in-country based stakeholders. The attendance of the latter was essential to achieve a better coordination of efforts. A follow-up work will be undertaken in 2008 through ongoing programmes to build on the progress made in 2007. Essentially, viable contingency plans will be developed to protect vulnerable populations from future epidemics.

How we work

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

The International Federation's activities are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

Contact information

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Sudan: Osman Gafer Abdalla, Secretary General, Sudanese Red Crescent Society, Khartoum; email:; telephone +

In Sudan: George Gigiberia, Federation Country Representative; email:; telephone +

In Kenya: Philimon Majwa, Disaster Management Manager, Nairobi; email:; telephone +254 733.35.96.294

In Kenya: Dr. Asha Mohammed, Federation Head of Eastern Africa Zone, Nairobi; email:; telephone +; fax +

In Geneva: John Roche, Federation Operations Coordinator (Africa); email:; telephone +41.22.730.4527