Poverty & Healthcare

Spending on health

Since oil revenues began to flow into the country, state spending on health has doubled. In 2008, Sudan & South Sudan put 7% of the country’s gross domestic earnings into healthcare.

Eye health

Eye healthIn this video… traditional medicine leaves its mark. The man in the video (like others his age) has two small scars on the side of his face. It was thought by cutting the skin and letting the blood run, this would cure an eye infection.

However, spending on health is below the 9% level recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Life expectancy is also below the average for North Africa, at 59 years (Sudan & South Sudan, WHO 2009).

Paying for health care

Most of Sudan’s doctors and medical staff work in the towns/ cities, where the pay is higher. Even so, there are too few doctors – only three for every 10,000 people – and hospitals can be overcrowded.

Because medical care has to be paid for, many poor people delay seeking treatment, especially since emergency cases are often dealt with for free.

In 1996, a Health Insurance Scheme was launched to cover the medical bills of a worker’s family (including siblings and parents). The annual cost is normally shared by employees and their employers. However, most people do not belong to the scheme.

Even in Khartoum State, only around a third of the population has health insurance.

Poor coverage in rural areas

Health threats

Common illnesses include malaria, measles, and tuberculosis. In areas with poor sanitation to the south and west, water-borne diseases like cholera are a threat.

The problems of receiving adequate health care are particularly high in rural regions, which lack trained staff and facilities.

In some areas, people also suffer from lack of food. In South Kordofan, for example, four in ten households do not have enough food. This compares to wealthier states such as Khartoum, where less than one in ten households have a poor diet.

Infant mortality rates among children are high in some regions. In South Kordofan, over 90 infants are likely to die before they are one year old for every 1,000 live births.