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HPH Weekly: As Sudan civil war raged, its health ministry kept hope alive

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Written by
Jo Zhou
April 18, 2024
Read Time
2 min

This edition of Harvard Public Health Weekly was sent to our subscribers on April 18, 2024. If you don’t already receive the newsletter, subscribe here. To see more past newsletters, visit our archives.

As Sudan civil war raged, its health ministry kept hope alive

Heitham Mohammed Ibrahim Awadalla, Sudan’s minister of health, administers an oral vaccine to an adult man at a vaccine event. A healthcare worker puts his hands ont he patient’s shoulders. Two other people look on and smile, taking photos.
Photo: Courtesy Sudan Federal Ministry of Health

One year ago this week, a new civil war began in Sudan. Heitham Mohammed Ibrahim Awadalla, the director of the country’s Federal Ministry of Health, reflects on keeping hope—and public health—alive as hospitals, clinics, and supply lines crumbled. One key takeaway for public health officials: “If war does come to your country, trust yourself and the people you work with,” he writes.

Giving caregivers the tools to cope

An older women with a serious, concerned look listens to another female with her back turned. The image is cut-out and on a blue circle with a light purple background.
Source image: FG Trade / iStock

Many older people are part of the “sandwich generation,” who are caregivers to both their parents and their children. This often leads to burnout, which in turn may lead to symptoms of depression. PEARLS (the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives) meets seniors where they are, both physically and mentally, to teach them problem-solving skills that help them cope with the challenges of full-time caregiving.

What we can learn from The Wisdom of Plagues

Book cover: “The Wisdom of the Plagues: lessons from 25 years of covering pandemics” by Donald G. McNeil, Jr. The cover is beige with a bright red border. A woodcut illustration of a funeral from the Middle Ages is in a pill-shaped frame in the center.

In his review of journalist Donald McNeil Jr.’s book on the COVID-19 pandemic, The Wisdom of Plagues, Richard Tofel sees lessons where others may only see flaws. Yes, Tofel admits, the book holds paradoxes and provocations aplenty—but it’s this singular view of the crisis that demonstrates precisely why a wider lens is needed for future pandemics.

What we’re reading this week

Rethinking insurance for an aging population →
Think Global Health

School lunch time is too short. Colorado lawmakers’ solution? A task force to make recommendations. →

After decades of imprisoning patients, Idaho approves secure mental health facility →

Washington, D.C. nonprofit launches “harm reduction vending machine” program →
The Washington Blade

While many Black women in US abandon hair relaxers linked to cancer, sales climb in African countries →
The Examination

Filed Under
Jo Zhou
Jo Zhou is the social media manager and audience engagement specialist at Harvard Public Health. Read more from Jo Zhou.