The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) delivered 30 tons of urgent medical supplies to conflict-torn Sudan on Friday (May 5).
A plane carrying supplies for injury treatment, emergency surgeries, and essential drugs arrived in the East African country’s Port Sudan Airport early Friday morning.
The shipment, valued at US$444 000, is the first that WHO has been able to deliver by air to Sudan since the outbreak of the conflict. WHO distributed supplies to health facilities prior to the escalation of the conflict. These were exhausted after a few days given the number of injured.
The dispatch of the aircraft comes as part of the UAE’s continuous relief efforts in support of the Sudanese people and reflects its deep relations with Sudan, particularly in light of the current situation the country is facing.
The relief is also an extension of the UAE’s humanitarian vision and underscores its relations with other countries based on human fraternity and its commitment to assisting others during crises and emergency situations.
Dr Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said that the UAE “continues to work closely alongside the World Health Organization to ensure the successful deployment of the critical logistics operations to send urgent medical and food aid to help address the current crisis in Sudan. In parallel with calls for all sides of the current conflict to immediately cease hostilities and de-escalate a situation that is causing untold suffering for the Sudanese people, the UAE is steadfast in its commitment to providing aid and assistance to countries in times of need.”
She explained that the main focus is providing for the most vulnerable groups affected by the situation in Sudan, especially the sick, children, the elderly, and women who are most at risk from the ongoing concerning conflict – and these relief flights will directly address the most pressing gaps in medical and food provision.
“The UAE’s deeply held humanitarian values have meant that it has ensured it has continued to communicate to the world its robust and unrelenting dedication to strengthening peace, security and stability, not just regionally, but also worldwide, whilst alongside its partners and the international community, the country continues to assist the Sudanese people in times of crisis,” she added.
The health supplies include enough trauma, emergency surgical supplies, and essential medicines to immediately reach 165, 000 people who are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.
Health facilities across the country report they have run out of basic health supplies and that national medical stores are no longer accessible due to the security situation.
Among other support, WHO is deploying two emergency logisticians travelling with the cargo to ensure that these supplies are immediately distributed to 13 major health facilities to support healthcare workers and extend care to those in need.
WHO has another 30 metric tons of supplies for malaria and noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension, conditions that can become deadly if left untreated. These and about 23 000 blood bags are being readied within the WHO global logistics hub in the International Humanitarian City, and WHO is currently exploring all possibilities for delivering these supplies to Sudan as quickly as possible in collaboration with the Sudanese Ministry of Health.
Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said, “The WHO Global Logistics Hub in the UAE has become a centerpiece of rapid supply response to acute events globally. Supporting over 140 countries across all six WHO geographic regions, the hub provides a lifeline to Member States experiencing health emergencies arising from outbreaks of diseases, disasters such as floods and earthquakes, and the impact of conflict on health systems. The support provided by the UAE enables WHO to be at the forefront of these health emergency responses – delivering specialist medical aid to those in need wherever and whenever it is needed. As part of efforts to strengthen the global architecture for health emergency preparedness, response, and resilience the UAE, WHO, and partners are working hand-in-hand to deliver supplies to reach the world’s most vulnerable in their time of greatest need.”
For his part, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said, “The World Health Organization continues to coordinate with the Sudanese health authorities to deliver essential health supplies through all available pathways. Due to the conflict, hospitals, pharmacies and primary health care facilities have stocked out of essential, life-saving medicines.
The arrival of an additional 30 metric tons of trauma and emergency surgery supplies as well as essential medicines will enable WHO to support 13 major health facilities and re-establish health care services for those in need.
Our global logistics hub in Dubai plays a vital role in ensuring an uninterrupted supply of health commodities and we are grateful for the support provided by the United Arab Emirates to facilitate our first charter flight of these desperately needed supplies. It is support such as this that shows in action our Regional vision of health for all, by all.”
The medical aid provided by the World Health Organization through the UAE accounted for approximately 55 per cent of the total medical supplies provided to Sudan from abroad in 2022, reflecting the UAE’s position as a major hub for international humanitarian assistance.