In mid-May, International Medical Corps deployed an Emergency Response Team to address the humanitarian needs of returnees arriving from Sudan to South Sudan.
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 response, International Medical Corps established a clinic at the National Teacher Training Institute (NTTI), which is located close to South Sudan’s capital city of Juba.
International Medical Corps has three doctors staffed at NTTI, assisted by national clinic officers, nurses, support staff and a nutritionist. The clinic, currently operational seven days a week, has been expanded to two tents, with four consultation areas, observation beds and a triage area. To date, International Medical Corps has treated 3,107 patients over the course of fifteen days and made 15 referrals to the Juba Teaching Hospital for advanced care. With support from UNFPA and the local Ministry of Health, International Medical Corp has also been hosting an antenatal care clinic, which has reached 67 pregnant women.On May 28, our staff delivered the first baby in the clinic, a healthy baby boy.
The types of diseases being seen in the clinic have remained stable, with respiratory infections, diarrhea and fever being the most common. International Medical Corps is screening all children under five years old for malnutrition – to date we screened 869 children and identified 19 cases of severe malnutrition. We are providing outpatient therapeutic feeding with the support of UNICEF for those children with severe malnutrition.
Mosquito nets have been distributed, but because many in the camp are not using them, we are hiring two health promoters from the camp to encourage the use of nets and raise awareness of other health issues. We are also working to prevent an outbreak of diarrheal disease through water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and plan to add a mental health component to our emergency response.
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. We have been present in South Sudan since 1994, and currently work 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.