It is now almost six weeks since violence broke out in South Sudan. On January 22, South Sudanese officials and rebels signed a ceasefire agreement which has been hailed as the first step towards ending the conflict. However, the humanitarian crisis continues.
In response to this, Amref Health Africa South Sudan is appealing for funding support to mobilise human, material and other resources required to provide emergency medical and surgical services. To respond to the backlog and influx of surgical cases being referred to the hospitals, Amref Health Africa will contribute its own resources through technical support.
With heavy fighting reported in Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states, substantial numbers of people have been displaced. Most of these people have moved to states that are experiencing little or no conflict such as Lakes and Warrap States – to seek asylum.
Almost half a million South Sudanese have fled the fighting, with an estimated 413,000 people being displaced within Africa’s youngest nation.
According to the UN, almost 74,300 people have crossed regional borders and are refugees.
The impact of this crisis on communities remains severe. This situation has disrupted livelihoods which has in turn increased the risks of public health crises: outbreaks of infectious diseases such as cholera and measles are likely to occur if the health, water and sanitation needs are not adequately met. South Sudan already has major health demands and access to essential primary health care and surgical capacity is limited. The extra burden the country now faces has further reduced people’s access to medical facilities. Malaria, diarrhea and respiratory tract infections are currently the most prevalent conditions at IDP sites.
Inspite of the ongoing response by various humanitarian organisations, there are still numerous unmet needs especially for emergency medical and surgical services for the wounded and displaced populations. There are about 3,000 cases of people with gunshot-inflicted wounds that require emergency care; the capacity of hospitals has been stretched to the limit; and there are inadequate surgical, medical and nursing specialists to respond to these cases. Taban Millinon, a clinical officer in Juba recounts how South Sudanese have been affected.
To respond to the crisis, Amref Health Africa South Sudan is focused on increasing access to emergency medical and surgical services through mobilising and facilitating surgical, anaesthetic and nursing specialists to provide emergency surgical services in various hospitals; providing physical rehabilitation, psychosocial support and post-trauma counseling services as well enhancing the capacity of particular hospitals to respond to emergency and essential medical and surgical services.
Since 2011, Amref Health Africa's Medical Services Outreach Programme has been providing essential medical, surgical, anaesthetic and nursing services to 14 hospitals in all the ten states of South Sudan via a service delivery and capacity building programme conducted in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and partners.
We have a team of committed and recognised specialist surgeons, physicians and nursing staff across the region as well as a well-established flying doctors emergencies service, radio communication networks and disaster response unit.