As of 25 March, three cases of confirmed COVID-19 reported in Sudan
As of 25 March, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) confirmed three cases of COVID-19 in Sudan including one death. A total of 16 people are being monitored in isolation centres in Khartoum.
A hospital—with a capacity of 88 beds—has been prepared to receive all COVID-19 cases (suspected, confirmed and severe). A separate quarantine building will be used to monitor people who have been in contact with confirmed cases.
The FMoH is drafting a national COVID-19 response plan with a current budget of US$82 million. State level response plans are also currently in development. Authorities in West Darfur State officially closed the border with Chad on 17 March. In North Darfur, the State Ministry of Health (SMoH) has prepared isolation areas to monitor suspected cases.
The government has taken measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 including:
A curfew starting 24 March from 8pm to 6am until further notice.
Ban of bus travel between states starting 26 March with the exception of humanitarian, commercial and technical shipments.
Closure of international and domestic airports until 23 April with the exception of humanitarian and cargo shipments.
All schools, universities, religious institutes, universities, colleges and higher institutes have been closed for one month, starting from 14 March. Basic certification exams in all states to be postponed until further notice.
All festivals, camps and sports events to be cancelled and public gatherings such as weddings are banned until further notice.
The UN and partners continue to assist the Government of Sudan in COVID-19 response.
UNFPA developed a guidance note for gender-based violence (GBV) response during the COVID-19 emergency. The note focuses on continuity of GBV response as well as preparedness in case of lock-down measures.
Risk communication and community engagement
UNICEF Communication and Risk Management team supported the FMoH, media, and the private sector with advocacy information on preventing the spread of COVID-19. UNICEF helped produce videos for use on TV, messages for radio and social media content. Up to 37,000 informational materials were printed in collaboration with government counterparts and are ready for distribution this week. As a result of this advocacy, 105 mosques in Khartoum state raised awareness on COVID-19 prevention practices and worshippers maintained physical distance during prayers. Up to 27,000 posters were printed by private sector partners reaching about 540,000 people. A total of 86 orientation sessions were held at markets and public areas reaching about 12,900 people. In support of the FMoH and in coordination with telecommunications companies (ZAIN, SUDANI and MTN) 34,197 users have been sent text messages about preventing the spread of COVID-19.
UNFPA is supporting the FMoH COVID-19 risk communication plan by spreading risk reduction messages through youth networks. In North Kordofan State, UNFPA, the University of Kordofan, and State Ministry of Health (SMoH) launched a COVID-9 community awareness campaign using FMoH educational material targeting the localities of Sheikan, Bara and Um Rawaba as well as El Rahad town. Precautionary measures such as avoiding handshaking and social distancing will be adopted in compliance with WHO guidelines.
Infection prevention and control
UNFPA has adapted the global guidelines for home base care for pregnancy and breastfeeding, triage, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for isolation centres to the Sudan context. The procurement of IPC material has started and UNFPA is working with FMoH to identify facilities that will be provided with the material. UNFPA has also printed and is supporting FMoH in disseminating 15,000 copies of the case management protocols to health care facilities.
As of 23 March, UNFPA has 310 reproductive health kits for distribution at isolation centres that may host pregnant women. UNFPA has also procured 1,000 dignity kits to cover the needs of vulnerable women and girls including those in isolation centres. In addition, UNFPA and FMoH are preparing training packages on infection prevention and emergency obstetric and neonatal care during COVID-19 for maternity facilities. In addition, Information Education Communication (IEC) materials specific to pregnant women and women who recently delivered are in the final design phase.
Operational Support and Logistics
Humanitarian partners are developing scenarios and adjusting logistics planning to ensure continued delivery of services to vulnerable people across Sudan. Partners are updating contingency plans across the country and are moving supplies from central warehouses to regional storage facilities to ensure they have adequate supplies on hand.
A medical shipment sent by Chinese businessman Jack Ma to assist the country in facing the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Khartoum on 23 March, with World Food Programme and other actors providing logistical support. The shipment includes 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits arrived on an Ethiopian cargo plane. The testing kits will be delivered to the national testing facility while masks and protective gear will be distributed to health facilities throughout the country as well as the six crossing points. This is part of a medical aid package that Jack Ma is providing to several African countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.