Khartoum hospitals collapse as ceasefire fails After close to two weeks of fighting and a failed attempt at an internationally-brokered cease-fire, most of its hospitals are shut down and inaccessible.

Khartoum's hospital system has collapsed after cease-fire fails

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A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Thousands are trying to flee the fighting of Sudan's capital of Khartoum. For six days, a conflict has raged between the rival forces of Army General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the leader of Sudan's paramilitary forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Civilians have been caught in these two men's struggle for power. Homes, businesses and hospitals have all been targets. Dr. Mohamed Eisa is a physician at Allegheny Center in Pittsburgh. He also serves as secretary-general for the Sudanese American Physicians Association, aiding in recovery efforts. He's in Khartoum, where he says 39 out of 59 hospitals have been shut down, and some have been targets of fire and airstrikes. Dr. Eisa, there have been repeated attempts at a cease-fire to allow doctors and aid workers to assist those in needs. Can you tell us about the situation you're in right now?

MOHAMED EISA: Thanks for having me. Unfortunately, the clashes between the Sudanese armed forces, SAF, and the Rapid Support Forces, RSF, continue on the streets of Khartoum. Despite the agreed-upon 24-hour cease-fire that was started yesterday at 6 o'clock in the evening, we continue to hear the sounds of heavy machinery and air fighter strikes during the early morning of today as well and just about half an hour ago. So the situation continues to be dire and continue to be guarded, unfortunately.

MARTÍNEZ: Doctor, so what do you do? I mean, obviously, you can't trust the cease-fire, so how do you try and help?

EISA: We have been trying to help, but multiple levels and angles here. Our immediate need and our immediate concern is the health care situation. As you mentioned earlier, there's a lot of hospitals that are out of service, and several of them have been attacked and bombarded. So we continue our ask and our appeal for an immediate secure of safe passage to the health care facilities, safe passage to the health care personnel to get to this hospital so that they can treat the injured. And today, we had a meeting with the preliminary committee of the Sudanese doctor trade unions about establishing sort of a peripheral spot or peripheral primary care centers that we can provide services to those patients, to those injured, away from the areas of the clashing, so decentralizing the care, if you will, so that injured can get to that a little bit easier than the areas where the clashes are happening.

MARTÍNEZ: What about supplies? What kind of supplies do you need?

EISA: We need everything. It started from just simple, normal saline, simple gauze, simple sutures, all the way to the supplies that are used in the operating room for laboratories, for extraction of gun wounds, chest tubes for those who sustained chest traumas, all kinds of supplies. We are in dire need for blood and the bags that are used for blood transfusion because those are in short here as well. So everything that we can get our hands on, it's definitely in a critical need right now.

MARTÍNEZ: If you don't get a cease-fire - at least one that you can reasonably trust - what are you going to do? What are the people that you're there with are going to do? Are you just going to just try and help as many people as possible?

EISA: Absolutely. Absolutely. And now I think the idea of sort of using the primary health care centers - the primary health care centers here are historically based within the neighborhoods, so they are much more safer. They are away from the main streets. And it's easy for the medical personnel to access them because most of the time the medical personnel working in those primary health care centers are actually living in the same neighborhood. That's how it's been historically in Sudan. So this idea now is taking a lot of attention so that we can establish these as trauma centers, which - to be equipped with maybe a simple operation - operating rooms so that patients and the injured can get to easily. So that would be our Plan B if the cease-fire has not really been responded to.

MARTÍNEZ: Doctor, just about 30 seconds - what are the people that live there - what are they saying about what's going on about everything?

EISA: Unfortunately, what they're saying is this is a war that only the innocents and the people of Sudan are the ones that are affected from it. They all appeal for an immediate cease-fire. They all appeal for an immediate attention to the medical part of this. As they can see by themselves, there is a human rights crisis happening day by day in Sudan, unfortunately.

MARTÍNEZ: Dr. Mohamed Eisa is the secretary-general for the Sudanese American Physicians Association. Doctor, thanks.

EISA: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

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