Violence broke out in South Sudan in December 2013. About six weeks later, on January 22 2014, a ceasefire agreement was signed. It has been hailed as the first step towards ending the conflict.
But, the humanitarian and health crisis continues.
In response, AMREF South Sudan is appealing for support to mobilize 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 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 500,000 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.
Communities are being severely affected by the crisis. The 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 significant 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 Internally Displaced Persons sites.
In spite of the ongoing response by various humanitarian organizations, there are still numerous unmet needs, particularly for emergency medical and surgical services for wounded and displaced people. About 3,000 people with gunshot-inflicted wounds require emergency care. The capacity of hospitals has been stretched to the limit. There are inadequate surgical, medical and nursing specialists.
To respond to the crisis, AMREF South Sudan is focused on increasing access to emergency medical and surgical services through mobilizing and facilitating surgical, anaesthetic and nursing specialists to provide emergency surgical services in various hospitals, providing physical rehabilitation, psychosocial support and post-trauma counselling services as well as enhancing the capacity of particular hospitals to respond to emergency and essential medical and surgical services.
Since 2011, AMREF’s Medical Services Outreach Programme has been providing essential medical, surgical, anaesthetic and nursing services to 14 hospitals in all the 10 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 recognized specialist surgeons, physicians and nursing staff across the region as well as a well-established Flying Doctors emergency service, radio communication networks and disaster response unit.
AMREF needs your support to continue to carry out emergency health care in South Sudan.