Last October’s military coup has had a ripple effect on the country’s healthcare sector.
Khartoum, Sudan – At Ibrahim Malek hospital in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, anaesthetics are in such short supply that patients sometimes wake up while still on the operating table.
Staff say they have stopped receiving medical supplies from the Ministry of Health since Sudan’s October 25 military coup.
“When people are about to wake up, we give them more anaesthesia,” said Dr Ali Shaker, general manager of Ibrahim Malek, one of the busiest public hospitals in the country. “These supplies should be given to us for free from the Ministry of Health, but they’re not coming…it’s a catastrophe.”
Like all other hospitals, Ibrahim Malik has resorted to purchasing drugs and equipment from the unregulated black market, but doctors cannot know whether those supplies are safe or effective.
Anaesthetics, in particular, wear off much sooner than they should, pushing doctors to administer double and sometimes triple the dose to knock patients back to sleep during an operation.
An already reeling sector
Sudan, and its healthcare sector, has been through a lot in the past three years. In April 2019, former dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by a wave of popular protests and a civilian-military partnership formed to administer the country. Four months ago, the military overthrew the civilian administration and took power alone.