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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs