Stench of death engulfs Sudan hospitals, but leaving is mortal danger

Ibrahim Mohamed turned in his hospital bed to find the patient next to him had died, but fighting that had erupted in Sudan’s capital hours earlier meant the body could not be moved.

Battles since April 15 between the forces of two rival generals have turned Khartoum into a war zone, shuttering hospitals and preventing health professionals from providing care.

By the time Mohamed, a 25-year-old leukaemia patient, was finally evacuated from the Khartoum Teaching Hospital on Tuesday, the body was still there.

“Because of the intense fighting, the person could not be moved and buried,” Mohamed’s father, Mohamed Ibrahim, 62, told AFP.

Attiya Abdullah, general secretary of the Sudanese doctors’ union, said the same was happening in other hospitals.

“Decomposing dead bodies are kept in wards” for lack of anywhere else to put them, he told AFP.

With explosions, heavy gunfire and air strikes that have killed hundreds in the capital and in other parts of the country, “morgues are packed and the streets are littered with bodies”, Abdullah said.

According to him, urban warfare between forces loyal to Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-rival, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the commander of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has triggered a “complete and total collapse of the healthcare system”.

As Ibrahim waited with his son in the hospital ward under ceaseless blasts, “the stench filled the room”, the father said, made worse by power outages in the baking heat.

“We could either stay in the pungent room, or go outside and be met with gunfire.”


– Hospitals under fire –


At around 1:00 pm on Tuesday, after three days with no food, water or electricity, the father and son finally left, but not to safety.

“The hospital was being shelled,” Ibrahim recounted.

According to the doctors’ union, 13 hospitals nationwide have been shelled and 19 others evacuated since fighting began.

At least eight people have died in attacks on health facilities, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The RSF and the army were fighting right outside the hospital,” Ibrahim said, adding that some of those evacuating were hit by gunfire themselves.

When the bombs start falling near hospital premises, doctors face a grim choice.

“We find ourselves forced to let patients leave,” Abdullah said. “If they stay, they would be killed.”

Ibrahim managed to shield his sick son from the crossfire, but “had to go on foot” through the streets, dashing from one safe point to another.

It took them five hours to get home “safely, but my son’s health has deteriorated since”, the father said.

With nearly three quarters of hospitals shuttered and “operational hospitals only providing emergency services”, according to Abdullah, there was nowhere else Mohamed could go.

“I just want all of this to stop so I can take my son to be treated,” his father said.


– Medics ‘extremely exhausted’ –


According to Abdullah, even hospitals that have remained open, receiving mostly gunshot wounds, “are at risk of closure at any time”.

“They don’t have enough surgical equipment, not enough fuel to run generators, not enough ambulances or blood.”

The WHO said 413 people had been killed and 3,551 wounded in the fighting across Sudan, but the actual death toll is thought to be far higher, with doctors and humanitarian staff unable to reach those in need.

“Some hospitals have had the same team working” for eight days straight, Abdullah told AFP.

“Some have only one surgeon. All are extremely exhausted.”

Medics have made daily appeals for a ceasefire to allow humanitarian access to move through, transport the wounded and bury the dead.

But brief lulls in the fighting in Khartoum have repeatedly given way to the crackle of gunfire, cutting through the momentary silence, and no truce has taken hold.

As civilians rallied on social media to find any sources of medication for chronically ill relatives, UNICEF has warned power cuts and fuel shortages were putting at risk the cold storage of more than $40 million worth of vaccines and insulin.

On Friday, as a third ceasefire collapsed, the doctors’ union shared advice on Facebook on how to handle, shroud and bury decomposing bodies.

AM Live

AM Live is NTV's morning current affairs show that sets the agenda for the day with insightful panels every weekday.


Business Redefined

Business Redefined is Kenya’s premier thought leadership platform for unpacking matters regarding economic and finance policy as well demystifying complex developments in the region’s capital markets.


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Full Episodes

A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Gumzo La Sato

Gumzo La Sato is a live social issues show that aims to create awareness about issues affecting the larger society. The discussions range from Parenting, Marital bliss and struggles, Oppression, violence, and all matters of the Heart.

Health Diary

Health Diary is a weekly show that highlights different types of diseases/conditions and seeks ways to prevent, treat/manage them. The show debunks this through real life stories and also feature specialists in different fields, to offer medical advice on the same.

Letter To My Younger Self

Letter To My Younger Self is a podcast where guests get to write a letter to their younger self, from which Maxine formulates questions to ask them during the hour-long show.

Mazao Talks

Mazao looks at agriculture and agribusiness

Nation Reports

Nation Reports is a weekly podcast offers an opportunity for listeners to interact with various reporters and journey with them as they unravel the biggest most emotive stories.

One Health Lens Podcast

Discussing health matters and human stories from Kenya and across Africa. We talk big picture from people to policy, ecosystems, and everything in between. Follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/onehealthlens

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost peeks through the story of Louis Otieno, the times, and everything in between.



Speaking of GEN Z

Speaking of Gen Z brings you entertaining but meaningful conversations about a generation that is trying to navigate through adulthood. Join hosts Michelle, Jackie and Esther as they unravel all things Gen Z.

Sport On

Sport-On is a 30-minute sports magazine show on NTV and 3 hours on NATION FM. The show seeks to give the sports “fanatics” and “funatics” comprehensive and in-depth coverage of sports both locally and internationally.


The extent of technological growth is beyond mere acknowledgment; it has seamlessly integrated into our daily existence. A few years ago, the notion of paying electricity bills through mobile money or recharging with 'tokens' in Kenya seemed inconceivable. Online product sales were considered distant, and artificial intelligence is rapidly reshaping various facets of our lives. Amidst these technological leaps, those with a solid understanding of tech can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and build a sustainable livelihood. Tech over Show aims to be the platform facilitating discussions among thought leaders, innovators, tech companies, and the government, addressing challenges and opportunities in Kenya's thriving tech industry.


Thamani is a business show which is dedicated to emerging issues regarding micro, small and medium size businesses.

The Politalk podcast

This is The Politalk podcast. Here we look into the ins and outs of everything Kenyan politics. We pull no punches and have no reason to sugarcoat anything that matters to Kenyans.

The Trend

A two-hour-long live show that airs on Fridays. The show focuses on what is current in the entertainment industry, controversial and popular across all media platforms targeting those aged between 25 and 35 years.

The trend podcast

The trend podcast highlights and captures the best of banter from #TTTT segment that airs every Friday on NTV. It's the TTTT EXTRA

The Wicked Edition

The Wicked Edition with Dr. King’ori seeks to address serious issues through humour and relatable wit. It is a two-part half hour show filmed in front of a live audience


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula


Twende is a travel show that highlights beautiful, unique, diverse locations, people, and cultures. The show offers fresh perspectives on familiar locations and memorable experiences in new ones.


This Saturday evening lifestyle show lets viewers share their stories and life experiences as openly & honestly for the purpose of shifting the culture of silence.

VIP Access

VIP ACCESS is Anyiko Owoko’s YouTube and podcast show on Music and Culture dedicated to promoting Africa’s most promising talent and creatives. This podcast grants you VIP access into timeless interviews while providing a platform for rising as well as established artists across the continent. Since launching in 2018, Anyiko has interviewed over 70 African music stars.


This weekly news show aims to have all sides of debate but not be constrained by it, listen to main voices in the contest but not allow them to hold the viewers hostage, entertain debate but allow push back with all due respect.

When death do us part

In this podcast, three widowers openly speak about the process of grief, how they found themselves exposed to the emotional turmoil of losing their wives, and how society still does not know how to deal with them.

Your World

Your World is a health, wellness and variety show. It provides a platform for audiences and experts to share their experiences on how to improve or manage health issues, across Kenya and the Africa region.