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Sudan Healthcare

Sudan is one of the poorest nations in the world, and what wealth the country possesses is not widely distributed. Poverty is widespread, particularly in rural areas.

Outside urban areas, little health care is available in Sudan, helping account for a relatively low average life expectancy of 57 years and an infant mortality rate of 69 deaths per 1,000 live births, low by standards in Middle Eastern but not African countries. For most of the period since independence in 1956, Sudan has experienced civil war, which has diverted resources to military use that otherwise might have gone into healthcare and training of professionals, many of whom have migrated in search of more gainful employment. In 1996 the World Health Organization estimated that there were only 9 doctors per 100,000 people, most of them in regions other than the South.

Substantial percentages of the population lack access to safe water and sanitary facilities. Malnutrition is widespread outside the central Nile corridor because of population displacement from war and from recurrent droughts; these same factors together with a scarcity of medicines make diseases difficult to control. Child immunisation against most major childhood diseases, however, had risen to approximately 60% by the late 1990s from very low rates in earlier decades.

Expenditure on healthcare is quite low – only 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1998. The United Nations placed the rate of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) infection in late 2003 at 2.3% for adults, quite low by regional standards. The UN suggested, however, that the rate could be as high as 7.2%. Between 400,000 and 1.3 million adults and children were living with HIV, and AIDS deaths numbered 23,000.





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