**18 years after destruction and a series of dialogues facilitated by WHO helped support the recently returned Abu Gaw community (North Darfur) to take an active role in rebuilding their health services.
A big day for the Abu Gaw residents in North Darfour, Sudan. A WHO-backed health center opened after an 18-year hiatus. On that very afternoon, patients were already visiting the doctor and midwives. The facility which was destroyed during the 2004 war provides essential health services to inhabitants.
“The people feel cared for. They receive adequate service, medicine is available in the centre, and the place is comfortable. They take enough medicine from the centre and leave”, Bahja Ahmed, midwife and survivor of the war in Darfur says.
People from Abu Gaw had to take long journeys to reach health services before the building of the new center. Many couldn’t afford the cost of transport. So the local community made it a priority to have a health facility.
Through dialogue facilitated by the World Health Organization with North Darfur health authorities and UNHCR funds, the center was built. An achievement hailed by Ni’ma Saeed Abid, the World Health Organization representative in Sudan : “**When the community gets information and takes an informed decision about the kind of health services that they are asking for or they need, they are not only just recipients of the services, but they are part of the planning and the design and later on even in the protection of these health services.**”
Residents of Abu Gaw fled from their village during the war. Since 2018, about 8000 of them returned to their village from displacement camps, and have have been taking an active role in their community. With 2.5 million internally displaced people in Sudan, strengthening essential services remains a priority. The commitmment of the Abu Gaw resident may inspire others.