Sudan Crisis Outreach and Partnership meetings in Cairo, Egypt 

Sudan Crisis Outreach and Partnership meetings in Cairo, Egypt 

SCCU Inform and Connect Round Table on Crisis Mapping – Sunday 27 August 2023

Shabaka’s senior Sudan advisor Dr. Sara Abdelgalil, SCCU Senior Coordinator Sara Abbas, SCCU Egypt Researcher Rania Mohammed Salah, and Shabaka’s Director of Research and Advocacy Paul Asquith held a closed roundtable discussion in partnership with IOM MENA Regional Office to share information and updates on humanitarian needs in the Sudan crisis, with a focus on the situation of displaced Sudanese in Egypt and on the northern border. Participants included representatives from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Egypt (UNHCR Egypt), and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Dr. Sara Abdelgalil, Sara Abbas, and Paul Asquith at a cafe in Cairo, Egypt

WHO colleagues noted: 

  •  The collapse of the health system in Sudan, and the failure of some specialist services such as renal dialysis, with severe interruption of health services, clinical provision, and HR services. 
  • WHO responses to the crisis include cross-border operations from Chad and other borders, assessment missions from Chad to Darfur, and registration of needs. 
  • WHO stressed the gap between funding / support and growing humanitarian needs and called for more advocacy to keep the Sudan crisis in the public eye internationally. 

IOM are working on a multisectoral level in their response to the crisis: 

  • IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Sudan is a key tool to inform partners of needs on the ground.  
  • IOM noted severe needs in Khartoum but also Darfur. IOM are making of use of 4 health facilities with local partners – in Blue Nile State, Gedaref, and mobile outreach teams.  
  • ‘IOM are also working actively with local partners and have deployed IOM’s rapid response mechanism for partners working on a multi-sectoral needs basis – many of these are health partnerships.  
  • IOM highlighted the importance of paying attention to the needs of displaced people and also host communities’ needs, as these both have an impact on health systems.  

UNHCR Egypt noted: 

  • That 300,000 Sudanese have entered Egypt officially – Argeen and Eshkeet are the main two crossing points.  
  • Crossings increased in June, but visa restrictions in place since then have reduced the flow of displaced Sudanese. There are currently around 400 crossing per day.
  • UNHCR highlighted health concerns for people in Sudan and those displaced to neighbouring states. Many of these health concerns arise from difficult journeys to the borders, such dehydration, heatstroke, also chronic illnesses needing medication due to collapse of health services in Sudan.
  • The Egyptian Red Crescent and Egyptian government are responsible for delivering services on the border. Egypt is guaranteeing access to Ministry of Health services for Sudanese in Egypt – but there are still challenges as the Egyptian health system is based on out-of-pocket expenses.  
  • UNHCR has primary care clinics in Cairo and Alexandria, also in Aswan. 
  • Since visa restrictions were brought in, health needs are increasing and there is also a challenge with growing numbers of undocumented Sudanese. 

The SCCU presented key findings from its recent mapping activities, including the needs of displaced Sudanese in Egypt and the northern border. In addition to health issues linked to their difficult journeys to Egypt, displaced Sudanese face multiple challenges in relation to accessing health and education services, as well as in navigating the Egyptian system. One key issue identified was a lack of accurate and up-to-date information on the eligibility of displaced Sudanese to access free health services in Egypt. IOM, WHO, and UNHCR agreed to share information about eligibility and how to access services in Egypt with SCCU so these can disseminate across SCCU’s networks amongst Sudanese in Egypt and in the diaspora. 

Dr Sara Abdelgalil also presented the pilot Simulator Based Education (SBE) initiative to provide remote training in emergency medicine to Sudanese doctors and medical students in Sudan, Egypt, and South Sudan, which is being run with the kind support of IOM Sudan.

Mon 28 August 2023 – Shabaka meeting with Sudan Medical Specialists Board in Cairo

Shabaka’s senior Sudan advisor Dr Sara Abdelgalil and SBE Training Consultant Dr Zeinab Hamid met with the Sudan Specialists’ Board to discuss the proposed Simulator Based Education (SBE) pilot initiative. The Sudan Specialists’ Board (SSB) is made up of 22 senior Sudanese consultants responsible for medical curriculum development and oversight in Sudan. They have been displaced to Egypt or South Sudan. 

Sudanese doctors in Cairo have asked why they cannot serve their own people? They have offered free telemedicine services to displaced Sudanese, but there is a cost for internet and platforms that needs to be covered. SSB members agreed to take part in the SBE pilot as Trainers of Trainers, and to form the Sudan Medical Simulation Faculty to provide oversight and quality assurance for the training programme. SSB have a training centre in Medinat Nasr in Cairo with fast internet connection that will be used to train Sudanese medics and medical students as part of the virtual reality-based SBE programme.   

Tues 29 August – Shabaka Meeting with IOM MENA to discuss scaling up of SBE pilot

Shabaka’s senior Sudan advisor Dr Sara Abdelgalil, SBE Training Consultant Dr Zeinab Hamid, and Director of Research and Advocacy Paul Asquith met with Tanja Dedovic, Senior Regional Thematic Specialist on Labor Mobility and Social Inclusion, and Michaela Martiini, Regional Health Specialist, and Rawaa Ahmed, Protection Specialist at IOM MENA Regional Office to discuss the SBE training for Sudanese medics and medical students. 

Dr Sara Abdelgalil and Dr Zeinab Hamid presented an overview of the Simulator Based Education (SBE) pilot training initiative being delivered with the support of IOM Sudan. The initiative started with the Sudan Doctors Union (SDU) UK and Eire, who have been supporting medical education in Sudan over several years – before the war started in April 2023, they organised 38 workshops, training over 3,000 medics, nurses, and midwives. Sudanese diaspora medics are working together, their network includes UK, Eire, Gulf, Qatar, NZ, Australia, Canada, and US. Their joint theme this year was ‘enhancing medical training in Sudan’.  

Shabaka contacted the UK NHS training simulation team, who are supporting the pilot. Shabaka has also agreed a partnership with Oxford Medical Simulations, who provide augmented virtual reality simulation for doctors and nurses. Most medics and medical students have been displaced from Khartoum to other states or Egypt, South Sudan, Chad etc. The SBE pilot is limited to Junior doctors (registrars) and final year medical students, but Shabaka would like to scale it up to include other health professionals like nurses and midwives in future phases. This pilot is innovative as it is being delivered in emergency contexts for the first time. 113 Sudanese medics have registered their interest in being trained on a ToT modelt: half are based in Sudan, many of the rest are in Egypt and South Sudan. – 70% are happy to deliver training after ToT – Shabaka will train these to train others. We also have 20 senior Sudanese medical consultants from the Sudan Specialists’ Board based in Egypt and South Sudan who have agreed to form the Sudan Medical Simulation Faculty and to deliver training in their specialisations. 

Training will be delivered in Atbara, Port Sudan, and Madani in Sudan if internet connectivity allows, as well as in Cairo, Egypt. Trainees will be trained in 3 groups, over 3 days, with pre-training resources and post-training 1-2-1s / supervision slots. IOM partners agreed to share information on the pilot with WHO colleagues, and to work with Shabaka to seek support to scale up this innovative training model in future phases. Rawaa Ahmed, Protection Officer at IOM MENA for the Sudan crisis, also gave updates on protection issues facing women and children in Sudan and those displaced in neighbouring countries. 

The first SBE humanitarian crisis training for Sudanese junior doctors and medical students in Sudan, Egypt, and South Sudan will be led by Dr. Sara Abdelgalil on 23 and 24 September 2023 . Shabaka will also deliver simulation-based training for diaspora medics in the UK in Brighton, UK, on 25 September where feedback and recommendations from participants will help plan future projects to support medical education during humanitarian crises and conflicts. 

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