International Medical Corps has deployed an Emergency Response Team to address the humanitarian needs of returnees arriving from Sudan to South Sudan. Acute malnutrition and a high level of morbidity have been flagged as risks among the returning population.
The National Health Cluster and the Central Equatoria State Ministry of Health asked International Medical Corps to be the lead health agency responding to the arrival of up to 12,000 South Sudanese returnees currently displaced in Sudan. In preparation, International Medical Corps is establishing a clinic at the National Teacher Training Institute (NTTI), which will be the largest transit site for returnees. NTTI, located close to South Sudan’s capital city of Juba, is expected to hold up to 10,000 people. Returns began on May 14, and approximately 600 individuals have already arrived in Juba. It is expected that 600-900 returnees will be arriving each day.
Three International Medical Corps doctors will be staffed at the site, assisted by national clinic officers, nurses, support staff and a nutritionist. International Medical Corps will provide health services for returnees and take the lead on nutrition screenings and outpatient therapeutic programming to treat cases of moderate acute malnutrition. The World Health Organization has provided International Medical Corps with a kit of drugs and medical supplies to treat up to 10,000 people for three months.
In addition to assisting returnees in Juba, International Medical Corps is supporting 49 health facilities in South Sudan, providing primary and secondary health care, nutrition, and water and sanitation services. The organization has been present in South Sudan since 1994, and currently works in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria States.
Violence has continued to escalate as South Sudan and Sudan have engaged in protracted border disputes since the south officially seceded from the north almost a year ago. The economic situation in South Sudan is grim, as there is very little fuel in the country and its currency is weakening. International Medical Corps continues to monitor the situation and is prepared to deploy additional teams to address humanitarian needs