Why are we there?
- Armed conflict
- Endemic/epidemic disease
- Health care exclusion
Fighting broke out anew in South Sudan at the end of 2013, and MSF teams on the ground provided care to the wounded and displaced to the best of their ability. Rampant insecurity meant teams had to weigh their own safety against the rapidly growing needs of patients and would-be patients, which is always an extremely hard thing to gauge. In some places, when fighting got too close to MSF projects, teams had to evacuate facilities. Some were later looted and ransacked.
Please see recent updates for the latest news about MSF's activities in South Sudan in response to the crisis the country was facing in the early days of 2014. Below is an overview of activities from MSF-USA's 2012 Annual Report:
Amidst a massive influx of refugees fleeing war in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, MSF launched a huge emergency response in South Sudan. Some 110,000 refugees straggled into Upper Nile state’s Maban county, where mortality levels in some places doubled the emergency threshold in July.
While calling for a more robust humanitarian response, MSF ran three field hospitals and seven outreach clinics, conducting up to 8,000 weekly medical consultations for people suffering from the effects of their long flight from aerial bombardments and deprivation—malnutrition, skin and respiratory infections, and diarrhea in particular.
In Unity state’s Yida camp, where another 60,000 refugees sought sanctuary, MSF offered inpatient and outpatient care and operated four feeding centers. Teams provided expansive water and sanitation services as well, and also conducted vaccination campaigns and responded to outbreaks.
In Jonglei, intercommunal clashes caused widespread displacement. MSF’s hospital in Pibor and two outreach clinics in Lekwongole and Gumuruk together carried out some 32,000 consultations. The Pibor and Lekwongole facilities were damaged in December 2011 during attacks that killed hundreds of men, women and children, and the Lekwongole and Gumuruk facilities were ransacked in 2012 during raids that drove thousands from their homes–after which MSF established a makeshift clinic in the bush to treat the wounded and ill.
In northern Jonglei, MSF carried out 100,000 consultations, treated 30,000 patients for malaria, and treated another 1,000 for kala azar in a hospital in Lankien and a clinic in Yuai. In Abyei, MSF’s hospital in Agok conducted 29,200 consultations, helped deliver 860 babies, and treated more than 3,500 children for malnutrition.
MSF also ran wide-ranging programs in Bentiu, Unity state (malnutrition and TB care); in Leer (kala azar, malnutrition, TB); a full-service hospital in Nasir in Upper Nile state; at Yambio hospital in Western Equatoria state and 10 other health posts (general care and malaria treatment); at Northern Bahr El Ghazal’s 250-bed Aweil civil hospital; and Gogrial, Warrap state (outpatient services, malnutrition, and measles).
At the end of 2012, MSF had 2,415 staff in South Sudan. MSF has been working in the area that is now South Sudan since 1983.
Priscilla* was among the first wave of refugees to arrive in Maban county from Sudan.
There is hunger here because there is not enough food. It’s even worse if children are sick because they are malnourished. There is water, but just not enough for all these people. Surviving in this camp is not easy.
We fled the first fighting, still in the rainy season. Along the way, we were moving, but we could not race. It took us over two weeks to escape. We drank water from rivers. Many people got sick along the way, especially from malaria. As we fled, we passed through villages that were half empty. Some had already left, but others came with us when they saw us running.
Once we arrived at the border crossing-point, we felt safe. We stayed there two or three weeks. For the first time, people started to feel the pains they had not felt so far because they were so concentrated on running and saving their lives.
*The patient’s name has been changed.