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Health in Sudan

Sudan Heart Center culture and media
Sudan Heart Center in Khartoum. Photo Robert/Flickr

The Ministry of Health provides health services in cooperation with the private sector and through other health sub-systems and health care organizations. These bodies organize health care on three levels: the public sector, National Health Insurance Fund which contributes to health financing and has its own private health facilities, and the private sector which is growing rapidly in major cities, with a focus on curative care.

According to official figures, there are 366 government hospitals of various capacities and another 185 hospitals owned by the private sector as well as more than 1,400 health care centres. The ratio of doctors per 100,000 citizens is 86. The same figures state that only 45.9% of the population benefits from health insurance services. Despite the fact that the number of health facilities in Sudan has grown significantly over the last ten years, privatization policies is making it difficult for more people, especially in rural areas, to access proper health care.

The funding system is based on user fees along with social solidarity programs. The social health insurance system was introduced in 1995, coinciding with the private sector expansion. However, the health insurance system is concentrated in urban and semi-urban areas. Millions of rural residents, particularly in areas affected by war, are not covered by the health insurance network. In 2006, free emergency care for the first 24 hours was introduced and, in 2008, financial support for pregnant women and children under the age of five became available.

Even so, maternal and child mortality rates in 2013 were higher than previous years. Sudan is still to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Child malnutrition is a serious health challenge.

Sudan is home to a number of tropical and infectious diseases. Malaria is the most deadly and widespread due to the high temperatures and poor drainage infrastructure. Malaria poses a national health threat, with more than 1.5 million cases reported in 2010 alone. Yellow fever, hepatitis A and typhoid are also common.

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