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Am J Public Health. 2007 Feb;97(2):353-61. Epub 2006 Nov 30.

Basic health, women's health, and mental health among internally displaced persons in Nyala Province, South Darfur, Sudan.

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  • 1Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center, Veterans Affairs Boston Health Care System, Boston, Mass, USA.



We assessed basic health, women's health, and mental health among Sudanese internally displaced persons in South Darfur.


In January 2005, we surveyed 6 registered internally displaced persons camps in Nyala District. Using systematic random sampling, we surveyed 1293 households, interviewing 1 adult female per household (N=1274); respondents' households totaled 8643 members. We inquired about respondents' mental health, opinions on women's rights, and the health status of household members.


A majority of respondents had access to rations, shelter, and water. Sixty-eight percent (861 of 1266) used no birth control, and 53% (614 of 1147) reported at least 1 unattended birth. Thirty percent (374 of 1238) shared spousal decisions on timing and spacing of children, and 49% (503 of 1027) reported the right to refuse sex. Eighty-four percent (1043 of 1240) were circumcised. The prevalence of major depression was 31% (390 of 1253). Women also expressed limited rights regarding marriage, movement, and access to health care. Eighty-eight percent (991 of 1121) supported equal educational opportunities for women.


Humanitarian aid has relieved a significant burden of this displaced population's basic needs. However, mental and women's health needs remain largely unmet. The findings indicate a limitation of sexual and reproductive rights that may negatively affect health.

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