The ongoing fighting in South Sudan continues to put the people living in the country at risk, as well as the people trying to provide humanitarian assistance. Its impact has extended beyond the young country’s borders and into neighboring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
Hospitals run by the medical NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have experienced attacks and evidence of patients murdered in their hospital beds. The challenge to provide medical aid coupled with insecurity and poor living conditions in camp are making for a worrying combination says the group.
“This lack of respect for medical care has deprived people lifesaving care at a time they need it most,” said Chris Lockyear, MSF’s operations manager for South Sudan, in a press call last week.
Equally concerning is what MSF sees as a lack of respect for humanitarian actors and medical facilities. On February 22, the MSF team working at the Malakal teaching hospital discovered fourteen dead bodies. The evidence suggested that they were shot dead in their hospital beds, said Lockyear. A similar report from Bor in December cited patients killed in their beds.
In another incident earlier this year, a team working in Unity State were forced to evacuate when fighting began to affect the hospital, leaving thousands of people with no access to medical care. MSF staff are back working at the hospital, but the situation remains tenuous.