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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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