Growing Disease Burden in South Sudan Conflict


Disease burden is growing among people who fled their homes following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan.

The mid-December eruption of fighting between army forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those supporting former vice-president Riek Machar has adversely impacted the already weak health system.

“Even before this crisis, South Sudan’s health system was extremely fragile - 80 percent of the health services were provided by international organizations," Raphael Gorgeu, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission for South Sudan, told IRIN in an email. “So for MSF, the current conflict exacerbates an already dire situation.”

He added: “In addition to treating the war-wounded directly affected by the violence, we’re also concerned for those who have been indirectly affected - for the displaced, for those hiding in the bush, too afraid to go in search of care, and for those who have zero access to healthcare given the high level of insecurity in many areas.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, around 575,500 people are internally displaced in South Sudan, and another 112,200 people have fled to neighbouring countries.
“Most fled with nothing, and the conditions in the displaced camps are very difficult, without enough water, food or shelter. Disease outbreaks in the camps are of serious concern. In many areas, the healthcare system has collapsed due to the conflict - the clinics have not be re-supplied and the medical staff have fled, leaving women without a safe place to give birth [and] sick children with nowhere to turn,” Gorgeu said.

The full article continues at on IRIN’s website.