SUDAN – Call for funding to avert preventable deaths of mothers and girls fleeing war in Sudan

Over two months after the outbreak of war in Sudan, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warns of preventable maternal deaths and illnesses if funding for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services continues to be culled. Among refugees from Sudan in Chad, women and girls represent nearly nine in ten individuals, with 25% of them of reproductive age and 5% are currently pregnant.

Aleksandra Roulet-Cimpric, Country Director for the IRC in Chad, said, “Slashing both public and private funding for sexual and reproductive health over the last two years has already had devastating consequences and the situation is set to deteriorate. Funding cuts could result in up to two million unintended pregnancies globally as a result of contraceptive supply shortages.

The Humanitarian Response Plan for Chad – currently just 17% funded – should be immediately fulfilled to ensure that sexual, reproductive, and maternal health services are properly resourced at this critical moment for Sudanese women and girls seeking refuge in Chad. Globally, WHO says progress in reducing deaths during pregnancy and childbirth and among newborn infants has stalled. An estimated 30% of maternal deaths could be prevented by meeting the need for contraception, and all deaths related to unsafe abortion can be prevented by providing access to safe abortion care.

The 29 countries with humanitarian appeals in 2023 account for 64% of global maternal deaths, 50% of newborn deaths and 51% of stillbirths. The cycle of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion is both a cause and result of gender inequality and becomes more severe during crises, leading to excess morbidity and mortality.

SOURCE: International Rescue Committee, from N’djamena, Chad, 25 June 2023 ; PHOTO: Reuters, by Mahamet Ramdane, 26 April 2023