Sudan: 32 Khartoum hospitals transformed into military bases, says medical group

Sudan: 32 Khartoum hospitals transformed into military bases, says medical group
Only a handful of hospitals remain open for Sudan's population of 45 million, as war between the army and RSF paramilitaries continues to rage.
2 min read
30 May, 2023
Sudanese hospitals are struggling to cope with the conflict [Getty]

Some 32 hospitals across the Sudanese capital of Khartoum have been seized and turned into military bases by both the army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries in their ongoing conflict, an international medical organisation said Monday.

Three doctors have also been kidnapped in Khartoum while one has been killed, Medecins du Monde said, without specifying who the perpetrators were.

Attacks on medical sites could amount to potential war crimes, according to legal observers. 

The World Health Organisation has called the use of hospitals as military infrastructure "a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law" that "must stop now".

Only a handful of hospitals remain open for Sudan's 45 million-strong population.

Makeshift medical centres and volunteer-led clinics have been set up in their place by local resistance committees, with life-saving operations often completed by the light of mobile phones. 

"Sudan’s doctors, nurses and community volunteers are risking their lives and innovating to provide health services in the middle of the #conflict. But they desperately need help and protection," tweeted emergency physician Hazar Khidir. 

Sudan’s health sector has been devastated due to the recent fighting as Sudan’s military battles the RSF in the streets of its major cities. 

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Khartoum’s Ibn Sina hospital - a major centre of urgent civilian medical care - was hit in mid-April by an airstrike that many believed to be intentional.

Multiple efforts at ceasefires have failed, and humanitarian organisations are struggling to provide help to the millions who have been affected. 

At least 865 people have been killed so far in the fighting, according to the Sudan Doctors Syndicate, while hundreds of thousands have attempted to flee their homes to safety. 

Rights groups and NGOs have warned ofa  humanitarian catastrophe, as Sudan’s neighbours - including South Sudan, Chad and Egypt - are ill-equipped to cater to the needs of thousands of refugees. 

"Sudanese civilians deserve a better life and health system that works," the Sudanese Doctors Trade Union said.