© UNICEF Sudan

The health of a child in Sudan is undermined by conflict, culture and chronic under-development. Statistics from UNICEF-supported surveys reflect this depressing reality: for every 100,000 live births, 216 mothers die (in Darfur it’s 335 mothers); for every 1,000 births 52 babies die, 33 of them within the first 28 days of life; only half of children here are fully immunized.

But there are signs of promise, too. In the past five years the percentage of babies fed with only breast milk for the first six months increased by 14 percent. Vitamin A coverage increased from 60 percent to more than 95 percent. And the proportion of children dying before their fifth birthday decreased by 18 percent; it’s now at 68 per 1,000 live births. That last trend, infant mortality, is encouraging.

But in Sudan it’s necessary to dig below the national figures to understand the true situation. In Northern State, for example, it’s much better: 30 children under the age of five die for every 1,000 live births. But in East Darfur that same figure is 112—meaning that more than 1 in 10 children die before they reach five years.

Sudan is committed to reaching the half of her children that are not fully immunized. Each year in Sudan an estimated 1.4 million children under the age of one year are targeted for routine immunizations. Measles coverage for the first dose now stands at 86 percent, a marked improvement, but still below the 95 percent target to eliminate the disease.

Routine coverage for measles and other vaccine preventable diseases remains a major weakness in Sudan. In addition to inadequate systems there are additional challenges here: population movement and conflict. Ten percent of the population is nomadic, and ongoing violence has made some areas inaccessible; some children in conflict zones have not received routine immunization since 2011. Because of this, sustained and repeated outbreaks of childhood diseases continue to threaten the lives of children in Sudan.

UNICEF Sudan health programme





Facts and figures on child and maternal health and nutrition in Sudan

Download UNICEF's fact sheet on health and nutrition in Sudan (PDF)

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