UN Mission in Sudan News Bulletin - 10 Jun 2007

UNFPA Campaign to end Fistula in Sudan

In a press release issued on 8 June, UNFPA Office in southern Sudan announced that since the beginning of the global campaign to end Fistula launched in 40 countries in 2003 , UNFPA southern Sudan has been implementing programmes, conducting training sessions and providing essential drugs and equipment aimed at the prevention and treatment of women who are suffering from fistula throughout Southern Sudan.

Obstetric fistula-an abnormal hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labour without prompt medical attention- leaves women with chronic incontinence and, in most cases, results in stillborn babies. Fistula occurs when emergency obstetric care is not available to women who develop complications during childbirth, which places women living in remote rural areas with little access to medical care at risk. Like maternal mortality, fistula is almost entirely preventable and occurs disproportionately among impoverished girls and women, especially those living far from medical services.

UNFPA estimates that 5000 new cases of obstetric fistula occur every year in Sudan where there are only three fistula centres across the country, in Western Darfur, Khartoum and Juba. In Southern Sudan, there are only eight qualified midwives with six in the capital city of Juba, Central Equatoria, and one each in Eastern and Western Equatoria States. This leaves seven States with no qualified midwives, where women are at an increased risk of developing fistula. This is further exacerbated by the fact that across the ten States of Southern Sudan, there are less than 30 general practitioners.

Currently, the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with UNFPA, is conducting a one-month training session on Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC) for health workers from the Upper Nile, Northern Bahr El Gazal, Lakes and Jongolei States. A team of experts from UNFPA Headquarters in New York will be visiting Juba on 11-12 June as part of the Global Campaign to End Fistula. The team will meet with Ministry of Health officials and health care workers and will discus fistula prevention, maternal and reproductive health policy and strategy development towards reducing fistula and other preventable reproductive health related diseases in Southern Sudan in general.

Security and Humanitarian Developments in Southern Sudan and the Transitional Areas

Primary and Secondary school students in Rumbek demonstrated on 7 June in front of the local offices of the Ministry of Education and Finance for the payment of their teachers' salaries. The demonstrators turned violent and started throwing stones at the offices. The Riot Police fired shots and used tear smoke to disperse the crowd.

Security and Humanitarian Developments in Darfur

North Darfur

On 5 June, a fire incident in Al Abassy IDP camp in Mellit destroyed 11 IDP shelters and displaced 60 individuals.

On 8 June, six INGO staff members were carjacked in Haskanita, (200 South East of El Fasher) and temporarily detained by SLA/MM elements. The reason for the staff detention is allegedly due to lack of notification of the SLA/MM in the area about the movement of the INGO. All staff members were released unharmed on 9 June following negotiations between UN Security and the SLA/MM.

South Darfur

On 8 June, three rented commercial trucks transporting a UN agency food items from Nyala to Shearia were stopped at gunpoint by Arab Militia men at Surayf, (50 km North East of Nyala). The truck drivers where forced to drive into a military camp of the Misseria tribe where the contents (Sugar and oil) of the trucks were off loaded. The food was meant for distribution at Sheaiea by an INGO. The three trucks were released after the drivers were questioned about the movement of other trucks along the same road. On 5 June, UN Agencies and the Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC) visited Kass to assess the needs of the new IDPs and to meet with the local Commissioner to discuss the difficulties faced to deliver services to the IDPs. The mission established that 86,522 people were receiving food.

A joint UN Agencies and an INGO team visited Tanakaro (15km South of Singita) to assess the situation of the reported displaced Rezigat population from Baro and Rijl Haren following the fighting in the Bulbul area from January to March 2007.The assessment mission reported that the population was living in shelters and that the children go to school to Singita where they can also find health services.

West Darfur

On 8 June, two national staff working with an INGO were attacked by three armed men at Foro Boranga, (178 Km South of El Geneina). One Thuraya was stolen. The two staff members were admitted to hospital with head, neck and back injuries.

On 9 June, several huts were destroyed by fire in Hassa Hissa IDP Camp, Zalingei. The number of the injured and cause of the fire are still not known.

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