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Despite remarkable progress made for children in Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, there remain great challenges to development as the country continues to be affected by lack of infrastructure, limited capacity and the ongoing conflict in Darfur, where an estimated 1.8 million children have been affected by armed conflict.  Many children have been exposed to brutal violence. Disease, malnutrition and disruptions in essential services like water and education are also leaving their mark.

Issues facing children in Sudan

  • Sudanese children suffer an under-five mortality rate of 112 deaths per 1,000 live births, an infant mortality rate of 81 deaths per 1,000 live births and a maternal mortality ratio of 1,107 deaths per 100,000 live births; 68 per cent of children have not been fully immunized.
  •  40 per cent of the population does not have access to safe water, with nearly 70 per cent not having access to adequate sanitation.
  •  Net primary school attendance rates are estimated at 53.7 per cent, and female adult illiteracy is estimated at 62 per cent. Less than 20 per cent of children complete primary education.
  • An estimated 10,000 children remain associated with armed forces and groups.
  • 36 per cent of girls marry before the age of 18, while female genital mutilation and cutting affects 68 per cent of women and girls - mostly in the north of Sudan.
  • Sudan has the highest number of internally displaced persons in the world - an estimated 4 million people are displaced, over 2 million of these in conflict-affected Darfur.

Activities and results for children in 2007

  • UNICEF supported the provision of primary health care to 3.9 million people in the northern states of Sudan, including the supply of more than 3,700 primary health care kits containing essential materials and drugs, the distribution of more than 910,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets and provision of 740,000 anti-malarial treatments, and the training of health workers from 406 health facilities.
  •  8.9 million children were immunized against polio, through four campaigns, and 3.5 million children were vaccinated against measles, while more than 847,800 children were protected against diphtheria.
  • UNICEF supported supplementary and therapeutic feeding programmes for over 55,000 moderately and severely malnourished children across Sudan.
  • In Southern Sudan, 122 nurses and community health workers were trained on management of severe acute malnutrition, 41 health workers received training on early child care practices and 87 primary health care facilities began implementing a new essential nutrition package that ensures a standard package of care – including infant feeding, growth monitoring, maternal nutrition programmes and low birth-weight prevention.
  • Through the provision of new, expanded and sustained access to water supplies for over 2.1 million people across Sudan, the incidence of Guinea worm fell from more than 16,000 cases in 2006 to 5,000 in 2007.
  • Installation and repair of community and household latrines assured the provision and re-establishment of adequate sanitation for nearly 480,000 people in Sudan.
  • UNICEF's support to education in Sudan during 2007 saw an increase in primary school enrolment in Southern Sudan of 350,000 (with some 1.2 million children now in school) and an additional 268,000 primary school children enrolled in the north of Sudan.
  • A total of 1,326 school classrooms were rehabilitated or newly constructed, including more than 100 classrooms for children in nomadic communities.




More information on the Darfur crisis - one of the most severe humanitarian emergencies in the world.
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