Photo Essay - Caring for Mothers and Children in Darfur
More than two million people have been uprooted from their homes and livelihoods in conflict-stricken Darfur, Sudan. Women and children are among the most vulnerable of the nearly 880,000 displaced people the IRC is assisting in camps across the province.
At the Abu Shouk camp, where the population has skyrocketed from 45,000 to over 70,000 in just a few months, the IRC runs the only clinic tending to patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The clinic’s staff sees about 20 pregnant women each day, providing comprehensive care that saves the lives of mothers and newborns and prevents pregnancy-related illness.
The IRC trains health workers and educates local communities to assure that women have access to good quality care during pregnancy, at the time of delivery—including essential emergency procedures—and after delivery. At Abu Shouk, such efforts have helped reduce the cases of maternal mortality in the camp to zero in the last eight months.
The IRC has also provided reproductive health education to more than 8,500 women who have found shelter at Abu Shouk, and is bringing services and support to survivors of sexual violence—a critically important health program in a society reluctant to acknowledge rape.
IRC women's centers throughout Darfur offer a sense of community as well as literacy and vocational training that provides the participants with a renewed sense of confidence and dignity and helps them support their children.