Healthcare Devastated By Insecurity In Jonglei State

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

The report documents how children and women are targeted and how health care is being threatened with medical facilities being destroyed.

“What we are seeing is an emergency; the lives and health of Jonglei’s population are hanging by a thread. The dry season is now upon us, making movement around the area possible again, and we fear a further spike in violence, injury and displacement,” says Chris Lockyear, MSF Operations Manager.

He says more than 50% of gunshot wounds treated by MSF in January 2012 were women and children.

The report covers the period of 2011 to September 2012 looking at inter- tribal conflicts, disarmament and rebel activities among others.

Lockyear said they relied on testimonies from patients about the violence and medical data from clinics among others to come up with the data.

This year, MSF reports 26 cases of sexual violence of which 18 are rape cases treated by their organization.

Women and children as young as four months old are among the victims as the Healthcare is threatened as medical facilities are targeted and destroyed.

Jonglei state has a long history of inter-communal cattle-raiding; however, since 2009 thousands of civilians, women and children have been caught up in violent attacks, which usually occur in the dry season.

A disarmament campaign process in mid-2012 led to widespread insecurity and was accompanied by human rights abuses against civilians. Further fighting between a militia group and the South Sudan armed forces in Jonglei compounded the violence and caused new displacement at the height of the malaria season.

“Patients arrive in MSF clinics seeking treatment for injuries describing how they have been forced to make devastating decisions about which children to flee with and which children to leave behind,” says Lockyear.
The report, ‘South Sudan’s hidden crisis: how violence against civilians is devastating communities and preventing access to life saving healthcare in Jonglei’ contains harrowing accounts of civilians caught up in attacks on villages.

The indirect consequences of the violence are less visible but equally serious. Entire communities have had to flee for their lives deep into the bush. Without shelter, food or safe drinking water, they are susceptible to malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition and diarrhoea.

Healthcare has come under attack in Jonglei state. MSF health facilities were destroyed or looted in Pieri in August 2011, Pibor and Lekwongole in December 2011, Lekwongole in August 2012 and Gumuruk in September 2012, denying healthcare to an already vulnerable population.

MSF is the only provider of free high quality healthcare in northern and central Jonglei, with six medical facilities serving a population of 287,000. From January 2011 to October 2012, MSF treated hundreds of wounded people and provided more than 227, 851 medical consultations.

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