News / Africa

South Sudan Unrest Strains Fragile Health Care System, MSF Says

A boy who suffered severe burns to his leg is tended to by a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctor at the 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, o
A boy who suffered severe burns to his leg is tended to by a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctor at the 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, o
Andrew Green
South Sudan's fragile health care system has been severely strained by more than five weeks of fighting, with many hospitals in conflict areas shut down and people besieging the few medical facilities that remained open, medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says.

In the largest state in South Sudan, Jonglei, only the town of Lankien still has a functioning secondary hospital, MSF Executive Director Arjan Hehenkamp told VOA News in an interview.

"Bor is closed because of the fighting, Akobo the same story, so Lankien has become sort of a central place in health care provision in the entire state of Jonglei," Hehenkamp said.

Most patients come to the hospital for treatment of malaria, kala azar, tuberculosis and other diseases that are commonplace in South Sudan, but MSF has also treated some 170 people with gunshot wounds in the past several weeks, Hehenkamp said.

Most of the wounded were from Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, and Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, he said. Both provincial capitals have seen fierce fighting since the unrest erupted in mid-December.

A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan.A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan.
x
A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan.
A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan.
The fighting has not only affected the South Sudanese people, "many thousands" of whom were killed and more than half a million displaced, according to U.N. officials,  but has also "massively impacted the conditions of work for humanitarian organizations," Hehenkamp said.

MSF suspended its activities in Malakal two weeks ago after its compound in the town was looted and staff threatened.

Violence in the area had already impacted MSF's activities prior to its compound being looted. MSF teams have been prevented by the fighting from providing thousands of people who sought refuge at the U.N. compound in Malakal with medical assistance, and were forced by insecurity in the region to cancel a vaccination campaign planned for January 13.

MSF's compound in Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, was looted a week before the attack on the Malakal compound.

Even before South Sudan plunged into violence in mid-December, 80 percent of health care and basic services in the young country were provided by non-governmental organisations.

As the fighting spread around the country, the international medical aid group has had to deal with shortages of drugs to treat patients and fuel to run generators, not to mention a sharp increase in the number of people coming to health facilities for treatment.

An agreement signed last week to end the fighting between South Sudanese government troops and opposition forces includes a call for unfettered humanitarian access and the creation and respect of a humanitarian corridor.

"We would anticipate that all the parties in the conflict would do their utmost to ensure that humanitarian assistance can reach those in need," Hehenkamp said.

"However, it has to be organized," he said, adding, "It's early days for the ceasefire; we'll just have to see how it goes."

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More