South Sudan: Pervasive Violence Against Healthcare

07/01/2014
Map of South Sudan

Violence in hospitals and the destruction of medical facilities are denying medical services to many of South Sudan's most vulnerable people, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today in a report, South Sudan Conflict: Violence Against Healthcare.

‘Horrific levels of violence’
Since armed conflict erupted in South Sudan in December, at least 58 people have been killed on hospital grounds, and hospitals were ransacked or burnt on at least six occasions, MSF said. These figures are not comprehensive, only representing the best of MSF’s knowledge about incidents in areas where MSF has activities or conducted medical assessments.

“The conflict has at times seen horrific levels of violence, including against healthcare facilities,” said Raphael Gorgeu, MSF head of mission. “Patients have been shot in their beds, and lifesaving medical facilities have been burned and effectively destroyed. These attacks have far-reaching consequences for hundreds of thousands of people who are cut off from medical services.”

Encourage dialogue
The aim of the report is to encourage dialogue and raise awareness about the impact of the crisis on the provision of medical care, and encourage positive change towards ensuring safe access to healthcare for the people of South Sudan.

Hospitals have been ransacked in the towns of Bor, Malakal, Bentiu, Nasir and Leer, often during periods of heavy fighting. The damage goes far beyond the acts of violence themselves as vulnerable people are cut off from healthcare when they desperately need it.

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