The GOAL team in Sudan, with funding from Irish Aid in the Department of Foreign Affairs, is providing the Sudanese Government with critical support in responding to the COVID-19 surge, including the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines in vulnerable communities in the northeast African country.
The Irish Aid special allocation of €100,000 is supporting the provision of drugs and basic medical supplies for COVID-19 isolation centres run by the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health. It is also helping with logistics and overseeing cold chain procedures designed to keep vaccines within WHO recommended temperature ranges.
So far approximately 2,200 health care workers, elderly, and immune-compromised people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in South Kordofan State under the Irish Aid fund.
GOAL East Africa Regional Director, Deirdre Keogh, said: “The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sudan is at an all-time high, and the delivery of medicines and oxygen for treatment is critical. The Irish Aid special allocation is making an important impact in supporting the Government of Sudan in its vaccine roll out programme.”
She added: “The vaccine up-take has been quite slow with just over 140,000 people currently vaccinated, and GOAL will work with the government to ensure the vaccine reaches as many as possible. It is vital that vaccine awareness increases and that there is a strong take up”
Minister for International Development and Diaspora, Colm Brophy T.D., said: “Many parts of Africa, including Sudan, are currently experiencing a significant Covid-19 wave. This collaboration between Irish Aid, GOAL and the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health is delivering vaccines to front-line health workers and vulnerable people. In making this contribution, I am particularly mindful of the contribution healthcare workers from Sudan have made to the Irish healthcare system over the last year.”
“Ireland is fully supporting international efforts to ensure people around the world have access to vaccines. The Irish Aid contribution to global public health has so far been over €100m this year. This includes responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries by way of contributions to the COVAX facility and contributions to the World Health Organisation to support overseeing the process of vaccine procurement and distribution.”
In addition, GOAL has assessed cold chain infrastructure in South Kordofan and North Darfur and has identified gaps in state central vaccine storage and distribution facilities. It is also training staff on cold chain procedures and practices to prevent spoilage of vaccines.
In the coming weeks work will proceed on repairing and upgrading vaccine storage units, including the provision of solar power for reliable electricity.
As of July 15th, the Supreme Committee for Health Emergencies in Sudan said the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases was over 37,000, with 2,776 deaths, but noted that the actual number of cases was likely to be more than 100,000. Sudan is still experiencing a third wave of infection.
Restrictions on large social gatherings have been reinstated and schools and universities closed as a response to the increased spread of Covid-19 across the country.
Current reports indicate that most of the isolation and treatment centres in Sudan are full due to the spike in new Covid-19 cases.
Through the COVAX facility the Government of Sudan has launched a Covid-19 vaccination campaign primarily targeting health workers and vulnerable people aged over 65.
Irish Aid is the Government of Ireland’s overseas development assistance programme managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.