ICRC mobile surgical teams: Bringing emergency medical care across South Sudan


In June and July this year the ICRC Mobile Surgical Teams (MST) performed more than 600 emergency surgeries in South Sudan and over 6,000 since the beginning of the crisis in December 2013.

ICRC South Sudan facts and figures July - August 2015

As the conflict continues, the ICRC is continuously facilitating the evacuation of the wounded and providing them with emergency medical and surgical attention on both sides of the front line. Kerry Page, ICRC's Health Coordinator in South Sudan, gives an update on the MST's work and talks about the challenges faced by health professionals.

"At the moment, we have five mobile surgical teams working across the country. They have a wide range of skills and are able to perform all kinds of surgical procedures from caesarean sections to complex chest or abdominal surgeries" explained Ms Page. Each team is composed of a general surgeon, an anaesthetist and 3 nurses and is often supported by a physiotherapist. Due to the difficult living and working conditions, mainly in remote places, the MST staff carries out missions for short periods of two to six months.

"One of the biggest challenges we have in South Sudan at the moment is the lack of local medical capacities. The patients cannot be referred to other health structures or specialists in the country, so our teams need to be able to diagnose and treat on-site all sort of pathologies, with very limited means" said Kerry Page.

In Juba, the ICRC mobile surgical teams have been working in the Military Hospital since the onset of the conflict, running an operating theatre, a 40 bed ward and providing training for the staff, surgical materials and medicines. The ICRC has also supported the opening of a blood bank.

Our medical teams have also carried out paediatric and surgical activities in the Malakal Teaching Hospital, until February 2014, when, due to intensified fighting, the Hospital was forced to close.

In Maiwut, an MST began working at the County Hospital in December last year. As the only functioning health facility in southern Upper Nile State, the structure allows nearly 120,000 people to gain access to medical and surgical care. A midwife, a physician, a paediatric nurse and a program director have joined the team to build the capacity of the County's health team and support the Hospital in the long run.

The full article continues on the ICRC website at https://www.icrc.org/en/document/icrc-mobile-surgical-teams-bringing-emergency-medical-care-across-south-sudan.