**18 years after its destruction, a series of WHO-facilitated dialogues have helped the recently returned Abu Gaw community (North Darfur) to play an active role in rebuilding their health services.
A great day for the people of Abu Gaw in North Darfur, Sudan. A WHO-supported health center has opened after an 18-year hiatus. That afternoon, patients were already visiting the doctor and the midwives. The facility which was destroyed during the 2004 war provides essential health services to residents.
“People feel supported. They receive adequate service, medication is available at the center and the place is comfortable. They take enough medicine from the center and leavesays Bahja Ahmed, a midwife and survivor of the war in Darfur.
Residents of Abu Gaw had to travel long distances to reach health services before the new center was built. Many could not afford the cost of transportation. The local community has therefore made it a priority to have a health facility.
Thanks to a dialogue facilitated by the World Health Organization with the North Darfur health authorities and funds from UNHCR, the center was built. A feat praised by Ni’ma Saeed Abid, the representative of the World Health Organization in Sudan: “**When the community obtains information and makes an informed decision on the type of health services they request or she needs, she is not only the recipients of the services, but they are part of the planning and design and later even the protection of these health services.**”
The people of Abu Gaw fled their village during the war. Since 2018, around 8,000 of them have returned to their villages from displacement camps and are playing an active role in their communities. With 2.5 million people displaced inside Sudan, strengthening essential services remains a priority. The Abu Gaw resident’s commitment can inspire others.