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'Disturbing reports' of health facilities looted, used for military purposes in Sudan - WHO chief

April 18, 2023 at 8:13 pm

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference on the World Health Organization’s 75th anniversary in Geneva, on April 6, 2023 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday that there were “disturbing reports” of some health facilities looted and others used for military purposes in troubled Sudan, Anadolu News Agency reports.

A total of 270 people had been killed in violence between the Army and a paramilitary group, WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said at a global health webinar from Geneva, adding that amid the fighting, there were “disturbing reports of some health facilities being looted and others being used for military purposes”.

Tedros called on all parties in the Sudan conflict to comply with their obligations under international law, noting that more than 2,600 people had been injured in the fighting. He said the most intense fighting was going on in the capital, Khartoum.

“Movement has been restricted due to insecurity, creating challenges for health workers and ambulances to reach health facilities and putting further lives at risk,” he said.

Fighting erupted on Saturday between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum and its surroundings.

3 WFP workers killed

The WHO chief said that three workers from the UN’s World Food Program have also been killed in Sudan.

“Healthcare facilities and workers must never be a target, especially in a situation like this where there are thousands of civilians who need access to emergency care,” said Tedros.

“I want to be very clear, all parties must ensure unrestricted and safe access to health facilities for those injured and everyone in need of medical care.”

Tedros condemned all loss of life and said movement had been restricted in the country due to insecurity.

The curbs have created challenges for health workers and ambulances to reach health facilities, putting further lives at risk.

He also said that the supplies that WHO distributed to health facilities before this recent escalation of the conflict were now exhausted.

“Hospitals in Khartoum receiving injured civilians are reporting shortages of medical personnel and lifesaving medical supplies,” said the WHO chief.

In addition, there are fuel shortages for hospital generators, and water and power cuts are reportedly affecting the functionality of health facilities.

“It is also reported that some hospitals are already closed, or on the brink of closure, due to attacks and a lack of medical personnel and medical supplies.”


At the same webinar, Tedros said he was “extremely disappointed” over the Taliban’s ban on Afghan women from working with the UN in the country.

“I call on the Taliban to rethink a decision that will massively reduce access to health services and only harm the Afghan people,” said Tedros.

“Female staff members and health workers are essential for delivering life-saving health services to those in need.”

READ: Sudan rejects external mediation efforts