Current Date:

Friday, 24 November 2017
 

On the Occasion of World Humanitarian Day , WHO Staff are at Work Saving Lives and Improving the Health of the People of Sudan

In December 2008, the sixty-third session of the UN General Assembly decided to designate 19 August as World Humanitarian Day

. 19 August is the date on which a brutal terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003 killed 22 people, including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

The Day also seeks to draw attention to humanitarian needs worldwide and the importance of international cooperation in meeting these needs. Every year, disasters cause immense suffering for millions of people – usually the world's poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable individuals. Humanitarian aid workers strive to provide life-saving assistance and long term rehabilitation to disaster-affected communities, regardless of where they are in the world and without discrimination based on nationality, social group, religion, sex, race or any other factor.

Humanitarian aid is based on a number of founding principles, including humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Humanitarian aid workers should be respected, and be able to access those in need in order to provide vital assistance. Humanitarian aid workers can be international, but most come from the country in which they work. They reflect all cultures, ideologies and backgrounds and they are united by their commitment to humanitarianism.

Everyone can be a humanitarian. People affected by disasters are often the first to help their own communities following a disaster. Responding to emergencies is only one aspect of humanitarian work. Humanitarian workers also support communities to rebuild their lives after disasters, to become more resilient to future crises, to advocate for their voices to be heard, and to build lasting and sustainable peace in areas of conflict every day,
 WHO staff are at work saving lives and improving the health of the people of Sudan. To celebrate World Humanitarian Day, we celebrate humanitarian aid workers by shining a light on their work.

Meet Abdelrahman, Primary Health Care Officer in North Darfur.

“Marhaban everyone, my name is Abdelrahamn Mohamed A. Sharief and I’ve worked for WHO Sudan’s office in El Fasher for 7 years now. I began in 2010, working on Secondary Health Care, and then moved on to HIV, CDC, Primary Health Care, and finally in 2013, acting team leader for our office.”

Can you tell us what your most impressive day was during those years?

“Sure! My strongest memory from the past seven years is one that is both sad and happy. Sad, because a life was lost that day - but happy because we were able to address the cause and save many more lives as a result.”

“I will never forget the moment. A colleague and I were visiting the state hospital in El Fasher for regular supervision and follow up. We came across the pediatric ward in the hospital, and we found a baby patient who had died because their oxygen supply had suddenly been cut off. It turned out that the root cause was a lack of funds.”

“This was unacceptable to us, so we thoroughly investigated the case and demanded purchasing oxygen concentrators for the pediatric wards and the Intensive Care, to make sure this would never happen again. Thankfully, our colleagues responded within a short time and secured the life-saving equipment - not just for our state hospital in North Darfur, but also for the other Darfur states.”

“When you see an oxygen concentrator, it may look like just another piece of equipment - but I have seen with my own eyes how these machines have saved lives of critically ill people.”

Very impressive - and thank you for the work you and your fellow WHO Staff are doing! Speaking of fellow WHO Staff, is there anyone who has inspired you especially over the years? Someone you look up to?

“Oh, very many. One that stands out is Dr. YakubVaid, the former Head of our office in North Darfur. I remember him fondly because he was friendly with all of us, talking to all staff each day, asking about how we were doing. More than that, he encouraged us all the time to be better health workers. He taught us a lot about how to be real team players, too.

Looking forward, what would you say is your biggest hope?

“My biggest hope is to extend more of my support to the Sudanese people in need, whoever and wherever they may be. Being a health worker is my greatest passion, and I will continue to pursue it until all people, both in Sudan and the rest of the world, enjoy a healthy and happy life!”

Every day, WHO staff are at work saving lives and improving the health of the people of Sudan. To celebrate World Humanitarian Day, we celebrate humanitarian aid workers by shining a light on their work.

Meet Wafeeg, Primary Health Care Officer in North Darfur

Hi Wafeeg! How long have you been with WHO?
“Almost 10 and half years, since February 2007! I started working on communicable diseases, became an HIV Offier after about
Hi Wafeeg! How long have you been with WHO?
“Almost 10 and half years, since February 2007! I started working on communicable diseases, became an HIV Offier after about three years, and since 2013 I’ve been in charge of the East Sudan office here in Kassala.”

Can you tell us what your most impressive day was during those years?

“I remember an important day in 2012: World Blood Donation day, on June 14th. For the occasion, we conducted the first-ever awareness raising and blood donation campaign in East Sudan. I also recall a day in April 2015, when we finished a project strengthening 11 laboratories and blood banks in rural health facilities. Finalizing such a big initiative, one of the biggest WHO efforts in support of health systems in East Sudan, really impressed me.”

Understandable - and thank you for the work you and your fellow WHO Staff are doing! Speaking of fellow WHO Staff, is there anyone who has inspired you especially over the years? Someone you look up to?
“Two people come to mind. Firstly, Dr. YakoubVaid, who led this office from 2006 to 2010. He taught me so much about public health, and guided my first steps within WHO. Secondly, I have to mention our current country Representative, Dr. Naeema Al Gasseer. As a leader she always inspires me.”

What is your biggest hope and your biggest fear for the future?

“My biggest hope is to see peace all over Sudan, and for all Sudanese people to have easy access to sustainable, complete, integrated and affordable health services. My biggest fear is that the state of emergency in many parts of Sudan will continue or worsen, with increasing disease outbreaks every year. My work at WHO is aimed at preventing the second scenario, and achieving the first!”?