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 Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid