An Escalating Health Crisis in South Sudan

Sudanese refugees fleeing violence in their towns and villages continue to arrive in South Sudan only to be faced with a different kind of disaster in overcrowded refugee camps.

Since November 2011, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been operating emergency programs in South Sudan for tens of thousands of refugees who fled violence in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. MSF has field hospitals in five refugee camps in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan (Batil, Doro, Jamam, Yida, and Gendrassa). However, resources in the camps are stretched extremely thin, and the humanitarian crisis is only worsening as more refugees arrive. Heavy rains have exacerbated the situation, flooding camps and leaving refugees—many of whom have already endured the journey from Sudan on foot—vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, malaria, and cholera.

All photographs South Sudan 2012 © Nichole Sobecki

John Stanmeyer/VII
Dr. Djibeirou Yay talks with Assitou, who is recovering from cholera, at Donka Cholera Treatment Center in Conakry, Guinea, Aug. 16, 2012. Guinea is currently struggling to contain a cholera outbreak, which has affected over 3,300 people throughout the country and 2,250 in Conakry and claimed at least 80 lives in the capital, according to the Ministry of Health. MSF team works in extremely impoverished areas of the densely-populated capital, where proper systems for drainage and waste disposal are almost non-existent. As of 20 August 2012, MSF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is already running cholera treatment centres and rehydration points in the city, and has treated almost 2800 patients.
Holly Pickett