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April 02, 2013

Wounded South Sudan Soldiers Tax Jonglei Hospital

by Manyang David Mayar

A hospital in the capital of Jonglei state is running out of vital medicines and beds as it is flooded with government soldiers who have been wounded in fierce battles with David Yau Yau's rebel group.

“We are almost running out antibiotics that we use to inject patients with to fend off any incident of infection," said Dr. Bior Kuer Bior, the director of the hospital in Bor.

"The hospital is also running out of space. We have a building that we can convert into wards but we don’t have beds and mattresses and bedsheets." 
South Sudan vowed in February to defeat Yau Yau's rebellion before the end of the dry season, which is usually around May.

The South Sudanese Army, the SPLA, fought a pitched battle several days ago with Yau Yau’s rebels in Okello, an area east of Pibor town. Officials said 143 rebels and 20 soldiers were killed in the fighting.

More than 50 SPLA soldiers wounded in the battle were sent to Bor State Hospital for medical attention. Many of them had bullet wounds to the neck, legs and arms, according to Kuer.

Kuer says the National Ministry of Health in Juba supplies the hospital with drugs once every three months.

“We just received ours last month," Kuer said.

"Normally that drug consignment would last for at least three months if we are only treating our regular civilian patients. But now that we have this medical emergency on our hand, it is possible that we may not reach the three months' mark when we normally get our drugs," Kuer said.

In addition to lacking antibiotics and beds, the hospital has no program in place to feed the patients. The state government, youth groups and women’s associations have stepped in to provide meals for the injured soldiers.

The battle in Okello was part of a push by the SPLA to end  the rebellion launched by Yau Yau last year to overthrow the Juba government.

The rebel group is thought to have been behind the deadliest cattle raid in years in South Sudan, in which 103 civilians, mainly women and children, and 15 SPLA soldiers were killed in early February.