Sudan

Sudan Situation Report, 19 Mar 2020 [EN/AR]

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FLASH UPDATE

As of 23 March 2020, two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Sudan

According to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), no change in number of suspected, isolated, and quarantined cases.

On 23 March the Government of Sudan announced that a curfew will be put in place for the whole country from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting today, 24 March to curb the spread of COVID-19. In addition, all travel between states will be banned with the exception for humanitarian, commercial and technical shipments as of 26 March. UNHAS flights are expected to continue.

A medical shipment sent by Chinese businessman Jack Ma to assist the country in facing the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Khartoum on 23 March. The shipment includes 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits arrived on an Ethiopian cargo plane. The testing kits will be delivered to the national testing facility while masks and protective gear will be distributed to health facilities throughout the country as well as the six crossing points. This is part of a medical aid package that Jack Ma is proving to several African countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Risk communication and community engagement

UNFPA is supporting the FMoH COVID-19 risk communication plan by spreading risk reduction messages through youth networks. In addition, Information Education Communication (IEC) materials specific to pregnant women and women who recently delivered are in the final design phase.

Infection prevention and control IPC

UNFPA and FMoH are preparing training packages on infection prevention and emergency obstetric and neonatal care during COVID-19 for maternity facilities.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As of 22 March 2020, two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Sudan

  • Federal Ministry of Health develops $76 million countrywide COVID-19 preparedness and response plan

  • Government of Sudan establishes two isolation centres for COVID-19 patients

  • Economic crisis continues to impact the availability of medicines

  • Desert locust swarms invade southern parts of the Red Sea coast through Sudanese-Eritrean border

FEATURE

As of 18 March, one COVID-19 death has been confirmed in Sudan

According to the latest update from the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) as of 18 March, only one COVID-19 death has been confirmed in Sudan, while 30 suspected cases are currently in isolation. All suspected cases were tested, of which 21 tested negative and the rest are pending results. In addition, 44 people are under quarantine due to contact tracing.

The Government of Sudan announced the temporary opening of airports and border crossings to allow Sudanese citizens stranded abroad to return home. Khartoum airport will open from 8 pm 19 March to 8 pm 21 March. Upon arrival to the country all citizens will have their temperature taken and those with a fever will be quarantined and will receive required medical assistance. The rest of the people will be asked to self-quarantine for one month and to keep in contact with health authorities regularly and immediately report any symptoms. UN agencies and partners continue distributing information as well as education and communication (IEC) materials on COVID-19 prevention.

UNICEF has mobilized US$370,000 for Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) supplies for use in points of entries to Sudan as well as in ambulances. UNICEF has delivered one round of supplies and is preparing to deliver additional quantities.  An additional $200,000 has been mobilized for communications to prevent the spread of the outbreak. Culturally appropriate messages will be disseminated in print and digital forms. In addition, the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF) has allocated $500,000 to support COVID-19 preparedness in Sudan.

UNFPA is working with the temporary quarantine teams to ensure that women and girls of reproductive age that are admitted will receive dignity kits and that visibly pregnant women will receive clean delivery kits. UNFPA will also support the FMoH to ensure standby midwives/OBGY are available to care for pregnant women. The isolation center in south Khartoum has been designated for the treatment of pregnant women and Reproductive Health kits will be delivered on 18 March.

UNDP is currently working in close collaboration with WHO and FMoH to identify priority activities from the National COVID-19 Response Plan to be funded by the Global Fund (GF) and GAVI. A detailed work plan and budget will be submitted to GF and GAVI for approval. Provisionally, US$2.5 million has been earmarked as efficiency saving from GF grants and GAVI. UNDP will also support other ministries and the National Higher Committee for COVID-19 response to develop plans and implement activities and will work with ministries to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 at both micro and macro levels. It will also support the National Medical Supplies Fund on global procurement of medicines and health products needed.

Sudan countrywide COVID-19 preparedness and response plan

FMoH—with support from the World Health Organization (WHO)—developed a countrywide preparedness and response plan with a cost of US$44 million for COVID-19 (coronavirus). In turn, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has finalized a country preparedness and repose plan (CPRP) for COVID-19 in support the Government’s plan. The plan will be updated as required. All efforts will be made to sustain humanitarian operations while at the same time controlling the spread of COVID-19.

The Government plan covers issues such as isolation centres, management of arrivals at points of entry, patient care, infection prevention and control, supplies, risks communication, surveillance and capacity-building. The UN regularly shares all information, guidelines, recommendations, protocols and risk communication materials with the FMoH. Since February, the UN has supported the FMoH with setting up an intensive care unit (ICU) unit in Khartoum; provided medicines and medical supplies; procured and disseminated infection prevention and control (IPC) materials, as well as education and communication (IEC) material. WHO trained 65 staff deployed at points of entry (PoE) and 10 rapid response teams (RRT) in Khartoum on COVID-19 response; performed joint assessments of PoE in Khartoum and Red Sea states; and distributed 156 test kits.

Measures taken by the Government of Sudan to address COVID-19

Two isolation centres have been created to treat COVID-19 patients. In addition, military hospitals in Khartoum and in the states are to act as centres for shelter and treatment.
All schools, universities, religious institutes, universities, colleges and higher institutes have been closed for one month, starting from 14 March. Basic certification exams in all states to be postponed until further notice.
All festivals, camps and sports events to be cancelled and public gatherings such as weddings are banned.
Government and private institutions should take measures to reduce congestion in the workplace. On 16 March the Minister of Culture and Information issued a circular giving all staff (except those deemed essential) leave from work until 29 March. On the same day, the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) announced a two-week leave for the Joint Procedures Centre (JPC) staff from until 31 March.
Additional health measures and controls to be taken in prisons and correction centres.
Tightening control over public markets and controlling the prices of food as well as medical and non-medical supplies.
WHO rated Sudan as “at-risk” for COVID-19 spread based on risk profile and capacity of the country to respond to a potential outbreak. Sudan’s health system is marked by decades of limited investment, underfunding, and lack of qualified staff, infrastructure, equipment, medicines and supplies. The surveillance system doesn’t cover the entire country and is structurally weak with long delays between alert and confirmation of an outbreak. The primary objective of the international response to the coronavirus outbreak remains stopping the human-to-human transmission of the virus and caring for those affected. WHO is calling all partners to use this unique window of opportunity to act immediately to assist all countries to rapidly detect, diagnose, and prevent the further spread of the virus.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.