Exploring Challenges to COVID-19 Vaccination in the Darfur Region of Sudan

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  • 1 Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Science and Technology, Khartoum, Sudan;
  • | 2 Department of Health Administrations and Behavioral Sciences, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University, Egypt;
  • | 3 Department of Public Health, Medical Research Office, Sudanese Medical Research Association, Khartoum, Sudan;
  • | 4 Faculty of Medicine, University of Science and Technology, Khartoum, Sudan;
  • | 5 Global Health Policy Units, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom;
  • | 6 Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ability of health systems to provide essential services globally. The Darfur region, located in the western part of Sudan, has been largely devastated by the war that began in 2003 and has been drawing considerable attention from the international community. The war, which erupted as a result of environmental, political, and economic factors, has led to tragic outcomes. Collapsing health-care infrastructures, health workforce shortages, lack of storage facilities for medicines and medical products, and inadequate access to health services are some of the effects of the war. After Sudan received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility, significant challenges have been implicated in the delivery, storage, and use of the vaccine in the Darfur region. Lack of vaccine storage and transportation facilities, vaccination hesitancy, inequity in the distribution to health facilities, and shortage of health-care professionals resulting from insecurity and instability have added an extra layer of burden on local authorities and their ability to manage COVID-19 vaccinations in the region adequately. Addressing the impact of COVID-19 requires an effectively managed vaccination program. In the face of current challenges in Darfur, ensuring a fully vaccinated population might remain far-fetched and improbable if meaningful efforts are not put in place by all stakeholders and actors to address some of the challenges identified.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Yasir Ahmed Mohammed Elhadi, Department of Health Administration and Behavioral Sciences, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University, Egypt. E-mail: hiph.yelhadi@alexu.edu.eg

Authors’ addresses: Alanood Elnaeem Mohamed, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Science and Technology, Khartoum, Sudan, E-mail: alanood.alnaeem@gmail.com. Yasir Ahmed Mohammed Elhadi, Department of Health Administrations and Behavioral Sciences, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University, Egypt, and Department of Public Health, Medical Research Office, Sudanese Medical Research Association, Khartoum, Sudan, E-mail: hiph.yelhadi@alexu.edu.eg. Nora Alnaeem Mohammed, Faculty of Medicine, University of Science and Technology, Khartoum, Sudan, E-mail: nora92alnaeem@gmail.com. Aniekan Ekpenyong, Global Health Policy Units, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, E-mail: aniekanpearl@gmail.com. Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno III, Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK, E-mail: don-eliseo.lucero-prisno@lshtm.ac.uk.

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