Where We Work

South Sudan

Crisis In South Sudan

Food Crisis and Civil War in South Sudan

International Medical Corps has been working in South Sudan since the mid-1990s, nearly 20 years before a national referendum in 2011 led the southernmost states of Sudan becoming an independent country later that same year.

Tensions within the new country broke into armed conflict in December 2013, claiming tens of thousands of lives before a fragile peace agreement took hold in the summer of 2015. Hostility continues to simmer, hampering efforts to improve public health standards in a country that has one of the world’s highest infant-mortality rates. The food-security situation remains desperate and the number of people at risk of starvation has increased. The potential for disease outbreaks is extremely high, with large numbers of displaced people and sharply reduced access to healthcare.

International Medical Corps currently operates in five of the country’s 10 states, providing healthcare, nutrition, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), capacity strengthening, gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response services, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support.


12.7 million

Internally displaced

2.3 million

Infant mortality rate

60 deaths 

per 1,000 live births

60 MINUTES: Fighting famine in war-torn South Sudan

Go behind the scenes as journalist Scott Pelley reports from an International Medical Corps stabilization center in South Sudan, where doctors were fighting to save lives during a brutal famine.

The Challenges

High Infant Mortality

South Sudan has one of the world’s highest infant-mortality rates


Sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, continues to be widespread


Approximately 2.5 million women and children are at risk of acute malnutrition

Our Response

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Healthcare

International Medical Corps works with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and other partners to provide integrated health services and strengthen local healthcare systems across five states in South Sudan. The number of health facilities we support has increased from 27 in 2021 to 70 in 2024.

We provide primary healthcare across Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Western Bahr el-Ghazal and Upper Nile states. In displacement camps in Juba, Wau and Malakal, International Medical Corps runs comprehensive health facilities that offer higher-level care, including surgery. Over the past two years, we have provided outpatient consultations to nearly 400,000 people. To reach remote communities or populations isolated by natural disasters, we implement mobile healthcare services either as part of ongoing programs or in response to emergencies.

Maternal and Child Health

South Sudan has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates—1,150 per 100,000 live births—which is due mostly to infection, hemorrhage and obstructed labor. The health system is rudimentary due to an inadequate number of qualified health workers, poor infrastructure due to armed conflicts, poor access to health facilities, a dysfunctional referral system and negative cultural norms. Because one-quarter of all South Sudanese children die from common—often preventable—childhood illnesses before they reach their fifth birthday, International Medical Corps implements services in primary health clinics that focus on improving the health of women and their children.

International Medical Corps supports health facilities with services that include:

  • maternal and child health, including antenatal and postnatal care, family planning, immunization and emergency obstetric care, and referral support;
  • specialized services for high-risk pregnancies and mental health needs;
  • sexual and reproductive health services, including prevention and treatment of disease, clinical management of rape and integrated case management for HIV/AIDS; and
  • capacity building, to reduce the gap in qualified health personnel.


An estimated 2.5 million women and children are at risk of acute malnutrition in South Sudan. International Medical Corps operates 64 treatment centers for internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities and returnees in Canal Pigi, Fashoda, Juba, Malakal, Manyo, Panyikang and Panyjar counties.

Our activities include:

  • treatment and management of wasting;
  • capacity building on screening using mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement;
  • prevention of malnutrition through maternal, infant and young-child feeding nutrition (MIYCN) programs;
  • information management and learning through support of population-based surveys; and
  • coordination and system strengthening through support of cluster and sub-cluster groups.

We work closely with the MoH and other partners to provide comprehensive treatment, incorporating a community-based model for the management of acute malnutrition, including MIYCN. This combination includes inpatient care for severely malnourished children with complications—to reduce their exposure to other diseases—combined with outpatient care through targeted supplementary feeding programs to decrease their recovery time. In 2023, we reached 94,570 people across seven program sites. We have also supported more than 400 mother support groups that implement and advocate for nutrition and dietary behavior change at the community level.

Capacity Strengthening

For every service we provide, International Medical Corps works closely with local and government counterparts. At our primary healthcare clinics, the majority of staff members are local, and receive training, support and guidance from experienced local or expatriate staff. International Medical Corps also provides modern, computer-based data-collection-and-analysis training for staff working on health management information systems. We partner with state-level ministries of health to provide technical support, coaching and mentoring of frontline health workers.

South Sudan has fewer than 200 doctors to serve its population of more than 12 million, and the number of nurses, midwives and other paramedical staff is similarly low. We previously supported three midwifery schools where men and women completed a rigorous two-year course of study to become midwives. From 2012 through 2022, we graduated 631 nurses and midwives, many of whom now work for International Medical Corps. We currently provide on-the-job training to midwives and other healthcare workers at Malakal Teaching Hospital and at more than 20 International Medical Corps-supported health facilities across Malakal.

Gender-based Violence (GBV)

Violence against women and girls is an endemic problem in South Sudan, exacerbated by ongoing conflict and chronic displacement. International Medical Corps puts GBV prevention and response at the core of its lifesaving interventions.

In 2023, we reached 79,658 women and 52,285 men with our GBV prevention and response programming. Our programs are tailored to support and empower women and girls who are most affected by abuse and violence, and who face particular risks during and after armed conflict and natural disaster. Our priority is to strengthen the core services we provide to survivors of GBV and other vulnerable women and girls in Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile and Western Bahr el Ghazal states, including survivor-centered case management, counseling and psychosocial support to enhance healing and recovery, and emergency cash to GBV survivors to facilitate the case management process.

In addition, we run women’s and girls’ safe spaces (WGSS) in displacement camps and communities where women and girls can socialize, share information, participate in lifeskill activities, make handicrafts and receive psychosocial support to help them recover from traumatic experiences. We provide GBV prevention and response training to local leaders, and establish WGSS management committees in each location where we maintain WGSS.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

In 2023, an estimated 6.1 million people in South Sudan were adversely affected by poor hygiene practices and inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Only 36% of households have access to nearby, safe water sources, and less than 40% of the population has access to safe, functioning toilets. International Medical Corps operates 14 health and nutrition facilities for IDPs, host communities and returnees in Canal Pigi, Malakal and Renk, where we implement WASH programming.

Our activities include:

  • implementing waste management in targeted health facilities, including handwashing stations, handwashing buckets and soap;
  • adhering to infection prevention and control protocols;
  • providing hygiene and sanitation messages; and
  • constructing and rehabilitating gender-segregated latrines.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and epilepsy (which is a neurological condition, but sometimes sitigmatized in the same way as mental health conditions), are growing issues in South Sudan. Mental health services remain practically non-existent, due to a limited number of mental health professionals, insufficient supply of psychotropic medication and the absence of legislation, leading to many mental health patients becoming incarcerated despite not committing a crime.

As a key provider of MHPSS services in South Sudan, International Medical Corps delivers evidence-based pharmacological and psychosocial support services to clients with mental, neurological and substance-use conditions in Jonglei and Upper Nile states. We also co-chair the national MHPSS Technical Working Group and contribute to national policy development. Our teams provide integrated MHPSS in all the project sites with mental health services, including awareness-raising, psychoeducation, screening, case management and referrals.


International Medical Corps works in close collaboration with relevant national and international NGOs, community groups, donor agencies and host-country governments, cultivating strong relationships with them to maximize the impact of our programs. We also help strengthen local partner organizations to ensure the sustainability of interventions. We have been a lead or co-lead agency in various technical working groups in the country and have proven our ability to work strategically and in collaboration with diverse stakeholders.



Help us save lives.