In transition: Current Health Challenges and Priorities in Sudan

Authors: Esmita Charani, 1 Aubrey J Cunnington,2 AlaEldin H A Yousif,3Mohammed Seed Ahmed,3 Ammar E M Ahmed,3 Souad Babiker,4 Shahinaz Badri,5 Wouter Buytaert,2 Michael A Crawford,2 Mustafa I Elbashir,3 Kamal Elhag,4 Kamal E Elsiddig,3 Nadey Hakim,2 Mark R Johnson,2 Alexander D Miras,2 Mohamed O Swar,4 Michael R Templeton,2 Simon David Taylor-Robinson6

Summary

This paper provides a summary of the proceedings of a 3-day scientific symposium and does not represent a systematic review of the existing research in the themes included. However, the symposium brought together extensive academic and clinical expertise and provided a unique perspective on the current challenges and gaps in the Sudanese healthcare system.

The burden of disease in Sudan is affected by poverty and is complicated by geography, politics, armed conflict and not infrequently, mismanagement. At a time when the political landscape is in transition, the burden of communicable disease in the country remains high, and non-communicable diseases look set to increase. The problems, however, are not all intractable. The symposium and workshops held in Khartoum in November 2018 highlighted strategies to improve the situation with relatively limited resources. Many of these have the common theme of collecting high quality and nationally representative data to better understand the problems and prioritise the use of scarce funding, and the need for achieving governmental support to implement improvements in healthcare.

The WHO Sustainable Development Goals should be achievable despite previously poor implementation and organisation of WHO directives. The developed world needs to work with Sudan, not only at a governmental level but also through professional bodies to support the well-qualified healthcare workforce and foster capacity building for research and development through partnerships with external funders and academic institutions across the world. There are also opportunities for bi-directional learning from other LMICs. The Khartoum conference highlighted opportunities for collaborations and workforce development to engender sustained change. The current situation in Sudan and how it unfolds will be critical in determining the evolution of healthcare distribution and also engineering societal change in the future of the country. We remain hopeful that global politics does not hinder the fundamental transformations that are needed for the current and future health of the nation.

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/.

Declaration: The format of the original paper was changed so as to comply with the website format of the Sudan Research and Consultancy Group.

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