News / Africa

    Patients Killed in Beds, Health Care Destroyed in South Sudan - MSF

    • An infant scale lies broken amid patient records and medical supplies at Leer Hospital in Unity state, South Sudan. Doctors Without Borders says the hospital was vandalized something between the end of January and early February.
    • A vandalized operating table stands in Leer Hospital's surgical theater amid ransacked medical supplies.
    • An aerial shot taken over Leer in Unity state, South Sudan, shows many tukuls burnt to the ground.
    • MSF personnel found medical supplies strewn around Leer Hospital when they returned to assess damages. The hospital opened 25 years ago and served 300,000 people in South Sudan's Unity state.
    • A burnt, damaged operating table at Leer Hospital in Unity state.
    • A girl is treated for burns in the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic set up at the camp for displaced people in the grounds of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, South Sudan, on January 12, 2014.
    Hospital Looted in South Sudan
    Mugume Davis Rwakaringi

    Scores of people have been killed in hospitals in South Sudan since the country plunged into conflict in December, and attacks on medical facilities have helped to crush the already fragile health care system, medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Tuesday.

    "Patients have been shot in their beds, medical and humanitarian staff have been killed, and hospitals, ambulances and medical equipment have been burnt, looted and otherwise destroyed," MSF said in a report entitled South Sudan Conflict: Violence Against Healthcare.

    "An already fragile healthcare system has been destroyed in areas affected by conflict and largely neglected in other areas, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without medical care at a time when it is critically needed," the report says.

    Patients, including women and children, were shot in their hospital beds, and medical and humanitarian staff were killed, MSF said.

    Raphael Gorgeu, the MSF head of mission in South Sudan, listed the total fatalities: 25 of the people killed in attacks on hospitals were patients, 27 were people seeking shelter in the hospitals, two of them were ministry of health staff and 4 were unidentified people.

    Devastating impact

    He said the attacks have had devastating consequences on local populations.

    "Hundreds of thousands of people became cut off from health care at a time they actually needed it most," Gorgeu said.

    "One health facility destroyed, one ambulance burned, one health worker killed means no access to health care for thousands of people,” he said.

    MSF project coordinator in Unity State Sarah Maynard said entire buildings in the town of Leer were reduced to ash and rubble, and life-saving surgical equipment was destroyed in an attack in January.

    MSF staff were pulled out of Leer after the attack, and when they returned in May, Maynard said she was shocked to see the extent of the destruction.

    “One of the things that really struck me the most was the absence of life and movement," she said.

    "I had never seen a hospital without patients in it, with no staff, no noise -- not even babies crying," she said.

    Before the attack, the MSF health facility in Leer provided preventive care and treatment for chronic diseases like HIV and tuberculosis to more than a quarter of a million people.

    The patients kept on coming, desperate for our help, and although we had no delivery beds, the mothers were coming and giving birth on the floor because they wanted to be close to the medical teams...

    Months afterwards, when MSF returned to Leer, people in the town were desperate for medical attention, Maynard said.

    MSF did what it could to help them, often working in deplorable conditions.

    "We had no power and no water," Maynard said.

    "The patients kept on coming, desperate for our help, and although we had no delivery beds, the mothers were coming and giving birth on the floor because they wanted to be close to the medical teams, at least,” she said.

    Malnourished children

    Maynard said she was also overwhelmed by the number of malnourished children she and MSF staff treated during their first week back in Leer.

    “We started a feeding program for severely malnourished children under five. Hundreds of mothers were bringing their kids for weighing and measuring and I remember thinking in the first week that maybe we will admit 500 children in the program. In the end, it was 900,” she said.

    Gorgeu said both government and opposition leaders have assured MSF that the violence against health care facilities and staff will stop, but there was little evidence that those promises are being kept.

    “We do have, at the highest level from all sides, positive messages when it comes to protection for health care, protection of MSF. But the difficulty is that these messages are not always translated into reality in the field,” he said.

    Government health officials were tied up in a meetings and were unavailable for comment about the MSF report.

     

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora