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  • Armed conflict
  • Endemic/epidemic disease
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South Sudan: Latest MSF Updates

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Read the Latest on MSF's Activities in South Sudan (Updated March 2015)

Below is an overview of activities from MSF-USA's January 2015 Activities Update:

Médecins Sans Frontières’ teams were quick to respond to people’s needs in South Sudan after the onset of fighting in Juba in December 2013. The organization immediately started dispatching medical supplies and personnel to launch emergency response activities in critically affected locations. From 13 regular projects, MSF’s activities soon expanded to more than 20 projects in nine states, to provide free healthcare to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict.

During the year, our teams witnessed violent attacks on medical structures, personnel, and patients. Several of our medical structures were looted or completely destroyed. MSF teams had to temporarily withdraw from some conflict locations for their own safety, but always sought to return as soon as possible to maintain a lifeline of medical care.

One year on, it’s estimated that 1.5 million people have been displaced inside South Sudan and another 500,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

MSF provided medical care in four protection of civilians sites (PoCs) where tens of thousands of people fled, as well as in large unofficial displacement sites such as Mingkaman camp in Lakes State. But many more who fled to the bush in search of safety remained out of reach of emergency assistance, despite MSF’s attempts by land, air, and river to reach some of these remote areas. The real toll of violence and disease in South Sudan in 2014 is hard to estimate.

On top of emergency care for people directly affected by the conflict, MSF teams also responded to cholera, malaria, and measles epidemics, conducted several immunization campaigns, treated children affected by malnutrition, and massively scaled up kala azar response activities in the face of a huge increase in cases towards the end of the year.

Our regular medical programs also continued, sometimes with increased activities due to the arrival of displaced people, but often strained because of the multiple emergencies the organization responded to throughout the year.

Healthcare in South Sudan was already in a precarious condition before the December 2013 violence broke out. Now the coping mechanisms of hundreds of thousands of people are stretched to breaking point, and in 2015 MSF teams will remain responsive to the most critical health needs, wherever they emerge.

At the beginning of 2015, MSF had more than 3,500 staff in South Sudan. MSF has been working in the area that is now South Sudan since 1983.

ACTIVITY HIGHLIGHTS DECEMBER 2014 – JANUARY 2015

New project in Old Fangak, Jonglei state

Protected by the streams and swamps where the White Nile and Bahr el Ghazal river come together Fangak has historically been a natural refuge for people living in Northern Jonglei. Already a volatile area, a surge in clashes during the last months of 2014 led to new displacement and the health center situated in Old Fangak, supported by a local NGO, has been overwhelmed with wounded and thousands of displaced people from Malakal, Canal, and New Fangak. To respond to the increased healthcare needs MSF has, at the beginning of December, transformed the health center into a 45 bed hospital which now includes emergency and mass casualty capacity. Reaching out to all who have sought refuge in the area is complicated with only boats and planes allowing access and transfers.

Emergency intervention in Pamat, Northern Bahr el Ghazal state

Thousands of people fleeing violence in the contested border area between Sudan and South Sudan are in desperate need of food, water, and medical care. Arriving mostly empty handed, they have settled in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the poorest state in South Sudan, where the humanitarian situation is already dire. In January, MSF launched an emergency intervention to assist the displaced population. The needs for food, water, and healthcare are massive. Many new arrivals are surviving only with water from hand-dug wells and almost all are forced to defecate in the open due to a lack of sanitation facilities. MSF is assisting the newly arrived displaced population, distributing essential items such as jerry cans to transport water, cooking pots, soap, and blankets. Families with children between 6 months and 5 years also receive a food supplement to help stave off malnutrition. 1,041 families have already benefited from these ongoing emergency distributions. MSF teams are providing medical support to children under the age of 5, including treatment of malaria, respiratory infections, and diarrhea. In their first visit to the new camp at Puor Akon, the MSF reproductive health team provided antenatal care to 59 women, all of them for a first time antenatal consultation and many in a late stage of their pregnancy. A rapid vaccination campaign for measles has also been completed in Pour Akon camp, with 533 children under the age of 5 being immunized.

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