Accessing essential healthcare in North Darfur State, Sudan, can be extremely difficult. Years of conflict have hindered the development of accessible region-wide healthcare. For people living in Umbaro, it has been especially challenging.
“Before, there was no government body to manage health services in Umbaro,” says Zahra Sulaman, Head of the newly established Locality Health Department (LHD) in Umbaro.
With no mechanism to coordinate the planning and delivery of primary healthcare and no links to the State Ministry of Health, management of health service delivery in Umbaro Locality was informal and unorganised. Access to basic healthcare for people in the area was limited. Pregnant women, new mothers and new-borns were particularly at risk.
Zahra says, “It was only after GOAL constructed and equipped an office that the State Ministry of Health deployed staff, including myself. We started from scratch, but with full support from the GOAL’s HealthPro project, we are up and running.”
The HealthPro Project
In three localities in North Darfur, GOAL is implementing a range of interventions targeting;
- Health system governance
- Human resources
- Health service delivery
- Supply of essential medicines
- Healthcare financing
- And health information systems
The HealthPro project, funded by the European Union, aims to help achieve universal health coverage among internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities. The project is also carried out in Kutum and Serf Umra.
Under the HealthPro project, GOAL teams constructed a new office facility in Umbaro. Local staff also provided computers, printers, and furniture to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to support the newly established district health team. Financial and technical support was also provided for the deployment of six technical staff, including the head of the LHD, to the office. Essential training was delivered, as well as a four-wheel drive vehicle, and financial support for conducting regular support visits to local health facilities.
Thanks to the project, Umbaro now has a dedicated health management team to care for the local community. In the last six months, the team has conducted three supportive supervision visits to the health facilities across the locality and developed a five-year health sector strategic plan.
Healthcare for Thousands
The project is set to directly benefit an estimated 60,000 people in over 90 communities. The strengthening of governance at the LHD level is also expected to have a far-reaching impact across the entire region.
Dr. Ali Sayed, Health System Coordinator with GOAL, is positive about the results and hopeful for the future, “I believe key health indicators such as maternal and new-born mortality rates in the community will improve soon due to the creation of the district health office. It is great that we made this a reality despite the organisational challenges faced from working in this remote area.”
Local leader, Jafer Ali Mohamedain, King of Umbaro, is grateful for GOAL’s work in the area.
“GOAL’s support has led to substantial improvements in the availability and quality of health services our community are receiving. We thank GOAL a lot for this support. We also hope it will expand the work and operate in the locality for a long time.”