Republic of the Sudan
Situated in the north-eastern part of Africa, Sudan has a climate ranging
from very arid in the northern parts to equatorial in its most southern parts.
The central part is occupied by savannah. The population of the country is
approximately 33 million, living in an area of 2.5 million km2. Although urbanization
rate is high, the country is still predominantly rural.
More than 90% of the population suffer from poverty and food insecurity. After
two decades of civil war, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in early
2005 between the government and the Sudanese Population Liberation Movement,
if it is consolidated, could open a new era of stability. Increased revenue
from oil exports could boost the economy and have a positive impact on the
food security and nutrition situation.
Sudan is both a least developed and low-income food-deficit country. Conflict
in the south and western parts of the country compounded by climatic problems
such as drought and floods have caused severe food deficits, loss of livelihoods
and major population displacements. Moreover, seasonal food shortage often
evolves into chronic food insecurity. At the beginning of 2004, WFP and FAO
estimated that 3.6 million inhabitants were in need of food assistance, with
internally displaced people, refugees and returnees particularly exposed to
food insecurity, health problems and insecurity.
Malaria and diarrhea lead the list of endemic diseases along with pneumonia
and tuberculosis. Guinea worm infestation is a major health problem across
the southern part of the country, where 70% of world cases have been reported.
Prevalence of HIV/AIDS is increasing. Populations affected by civil strife
are deprived of access to health services and are consequently more vulnerable
to diseases and malnutrition.
According to national food balance statistics, the food supply, essentially
based on cereals, meets population energy requirements. Vegetable foods are
complemented with a substantial supply of milk. Nevertheless, national statistics
mask large inequalities in access to food in the country. The prevalence of
undernourishment is high. Data on actual food consumption are not available.
Among children under 5 years of age, the prevalence of malnutrition is very
high. Based on WHO epidemiologic criteria, the prevalence of stunting and wasting
are classified as very high.
Although recent survey data are lacking, there is clear evidence that micronutrient
deficiencies are a major public health problem. Prevalence of vitamin A deficiency
is high, as observed in 1995 among preschool children. Areas most affected
are Southern Darfur and Gezira. Some supplementation campaigns have been conducted
but coverage of the population is still low. Prevalence of iodine deficiency
is high, as observed among school-age children in 1997. States most at risk
were the Upper Nile Zone, Kordofan Zone and Northern Zone. A salt iodization
programme has been started but coverage is still very low. Iron deficiency
anemia is also highly prevalent among children under 5 years and among women
of reproductive age.
Important note : The data presented in this profile pertain to the whole country
as regards basic indicators (part I) and food supply data, but most survey
data are relevant to northern Sudan only, unless otherwise noted, and sometimes
include data from southern cities aggregated as a cluster.
For specific information on southern Sudan, refer to the following document: New
Sudan Centre for Statistics and Evaluation in Association with UNICEF. 2004.Towards
a baseline: best estimates of social indicators for Southern Sudan. NSCSE
Series Paper 1/2004