More than 300,000 children under the age of five die of preventable diseases each year in Sudan, almost a third of them before they reach the age of one month, a UN official said on Tuesday.
"We have 305,000 children under five years of age that die every year from preventable causes... Of those, 110,000 die in their first 28 days of life," said Nils Kastberg, the UN's Children's Fund Sudan representative.
AdvertisementHe added that about 26,000 Sudanese women, out of a population of roughly 40 million, die each year as a result of childbirth.
"As a comparison, in the entire Latin America and Caribbean region with 550 million people, less than 10,000 mothers die giving birth," he told reporters in Khartoum.
"I think it is very important that we start getting our priorities right. I was recently in a town where there were 20 tanks but only one ambulance," he said.
Sudan has seen constant warfare in its recent history, with two decades of civil war between the north and south giving way to a devastating conflict in Darfur that has killed about 300,000 people, according to the United Nations.
Parts of the south, which became autonomous under a 2005 power-sharing agreement that ended the civil war, are still wracked by ethnic violence.
"Sudan, more than ever, needs peace; it needs every citizen to feel 'I am prepared to pay the price for peace,' rather than continue paying the price for war," Kastberg said.
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