Galal* is a healthy 1-year-old baby boy who loves to laugh. He is alive and thriving today with the help of the Alight programmes funded by the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF) and other donors in eastern Sudan.
Galal’s mother brought him and his 10-year-old sister to the Tunaydbah refugee settlement in eastern Sudan after a day-long trek from Ethiopia’s Tigray region. He was emaciated, underweight and lethargic. His mother suffered from liver cancer and was unable to properly care for him. She passed away three weeks after they arrived at the camp, leaving Galal in the care of his sister.
Immediately, Alight protection workers supported by SHF funds identified the two children for care and assistance. They placed them with families in the settlement. Galal required more care than the families could provide and his sister did not fit in with the temporary foster family. They ended up living on their own.
Baby Galal recovers at Alight clinic
At the same time, Galal’s condition was worsening. He was suffering from severe diarrhoea complicated by malnutrition. With medical care delayed, he developed life-threatening shock due to severe dehydration.
The Alight medical team provided the immediate medical attention Galal required to treat moderate acute malnutrition. With a few more days in a primary health-care centre funded by the SHF, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, his condition and health improved fast.
Nationwide, the focus by the government authorities and humanitarian organizations on child and maternal health have helped reduce infant mortality from 68 deaths per 1,000 births in 2000 to 52 deaths in 2014; and under-five child mortality from 104 to 68 for the same period. More progress is still needed, however, especially with regard to nutrition, as more than half of child deaths result from malnutrition.
Meanwhile, Alight’s protection team continued to search for a family or relative to take care of Galal and his sister. In coordination with Sudan’s Commission of Refugees, Galal’s aunt was moved from the Hamdayet border reception camp and reunited with the children in Tunaydbah.
“They all are doing very well now. Galal was discharged and I follow up his case regularly,” said Dr. Oscar Fudalan, Acting Health Manager in Gedaref. “It is all part of the life-saving work we do, thanks to all our donors.”
In 2020, 10 per cent of SHF funding was allocated to nutrition activities, targeting more than 400,000 people. This trend remains in 2021, with US$3 million out of a total of $33 million allocated to nutrition to date.
The Sudan Humanitarian Fund is a country-based pooled fund managed by OCHA Sudan under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator. It collects donor contributions to make funding directly available to humanitarian partners working on the ground so they can deliver timely and effective life-saving assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people in need.
* Baby Galal’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).