South Sudan: Health Services Struggle to Meet Needs


"Recent fighting in South Sudan has resulted in large numbers of people being wounded," said Franz Rauchenstein, head of the ICRC delegation in the country. "ICRC medical staff have been sent to several places and are now working around the clock to treat the injured."

Since last December, health services in the country have been overstretched. "The lack of security has caused many health workers to flee. There have also been reports of health workers being attacked or killed," said Kerry Page, an ICRC health programme coordinator in South Sudan. "In addition, several care facilities have been damaged or looted, and since it's extremely difficult to bring in medical supplies to the places that need them most, the basic health needs of many people simply cannot be met."

From the very beginning of the current armed conflict, the ICRC has been sending in specialized medical personnel to perform life-saving operations. Four surgical teams, each consisting of an anaesthetist and three nurses as well as a surgeon, have performed more than 2,600 surgical procedures on weapon-wounded patients in 13 health facilities across the country. In parallel with these efforts, South Sudan Red Cross volunteers have delivered medical supplies, dressed wounds, served as interpreters for the surgical teams, moved patients and performed many other essential tasks relating to patient care.

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