Brutal fighting forced our teams to suspend medical activities in Pieri for two days in May. In June, we suspended activities in Pibor after most of our staff sought safety in the remote bush area. When violence broke out again in August, we launched an emergency response. The project was closed in December, to enable the reorganisation of our medical activities in a more agile and efficient manner to respond to the community’s emergency health needs.
For the second consecutive year, severe flooding affected more than one million people across a wide swathe of South Sudan, submerging their homes and health facilities, and leaving them without adequate food, water, or shelter.
Our teams in Pibor, Old Fangak, and Leer responded to the massive needs, delivering emergency health care through mobile clinics, hospitals, and clinics. In Upper Nile state, we set up an emergency clinic serving the towns of Canal and Khor Ulus—which can only be reached by boat from Malakal town—and carried out an emergency intervention in Ulang Sobat region.
In Greater Pibor, malnutrition was a major concern. We scaled up our nutritional support for young children, through mobile clinics and our inpatient therapeutic feeding center in Pibor town. We also distributed 15,850 gallons of drinking water per day where floodwater had contaminated wells.
Across these projects, our teams treated thousands of people, mostly for malaria, respiratory tract infections, and acute watery diarrhea. We also supported a mass measles vaccination campaign in Malakal town and PoC. In addition, we offered psychosocial assistance and distributed relief items, including plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, and soap, to thousands of displaced families.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally in early 2020, concerns that an outbreak would exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation led MSF to integrate COVID-19 measures and new activities into all existing projects across the country, and start dedicated projects in Juba and Malakal teaching hospitals.
In Juba, we focused on strengthening infection prevention and control measures in health facilities, including the teaching hospital, and the national public health laboratory, the country’s primary testing facility. Our teams also trained health care workers, donated supplies, conducted health promotion activities, and set up handwashing points in several public locations.
Refugees and internally displaced people
In July, UNMISS announced it would begin to hand over the five PoC sites in the country to the national government. In Bentiu and Malakal PoCs, where we manage hospitals, the process had not yet started. However, in Bentiu, patients and community members voiced concerns to our staff about their safety once the UN is no longer protecting the site.
In both PoCs, our teams continued to treat conditions caused mainly by the living conditions, including malaria, diarrheal disease, hepatitis E, cholera, typhoid fever, trachoma, and skin infections, and call for improved water and sanitation.
In Yei county, following new waves of displacement, MSF outreach and mobile teams distributed relief items and offered general medical consultations, immunizations, and psychosocial help. We also supported the pediatric ward of Yei state hospital and ran general health care services at our clinic in Jansuk.
At our clinic in Doro camp, and in the hospital in Bunj in Upper Nile state, we provided medical care to refugee and host communities, including vaccinations, treatment for malaria and malnutrition, care for victims of sexual and gender-based violence, and assistance with births.
Mother and child care
We offered pediatric and maternal health care throughout the year at Aweil state hospital, which serves around 1.3 million people. In October, we supported the health ministry’s response to a seasonal peak in malaria, with rapid diagnostic tests, medication, and supervision at the hospital and in general health care centers.
Abyei Special Administrative Area
In Abyei, a disputed area between Sudan and South Sudan, our 180-bed hospital in Agok town continued to provide surgery, neonatal and pediatric care, and treat people for snakebites and diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and diabetes.
In July, we closed the projects we had been running for 14 years in Yambio county, Western Equatoria state. These projects focused on seasonal malaria chemoprevention for vulnerable children in rural areas, support for the regional hospital, and an intervention assisting demobilized child soldiers.