Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is currently responding to a large influx of wounded patients as a result of clashes that began on February 9 in Upper Nile State, southern Sudan. In collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the country’s Ministry of Health, an MSF medical team admitted 33 wounded patients to the hospital in the town of Malakal on the morning of February 11. Six of those patients were in urgent need of surgery. A further 17 patients who have been evacuated, mainly from the towns of New Fangak and Pamzsherf where much of the fighting has been concentrated, have just been admitted to the hospital.
“We are mainly seeing patients with gunshot wounds, and many have significant abdominal and limb injuries,” said Tim Baerwaldt, head of mission for MSF in southern Sudan. “Among the patients who arrived this morning, we have treated one 11- year-old child and two women.”
Due to the fighting and insecurity, many areas have remained cut off; therefore, medical assistance has not been able to reach those in need. MSF is currently taking all steps to access every person who has been affected by these latest clashes. “MSF is extremely concerned for the wounded people who may not have received assistance,” Baerwaldt said. “It is imperative that immediate access to urgent lifesaving medical care is granted by the relevant authorities to both civilians and all parties to the conflict.”
To reinforce the medical team already present in Malakal, MSF has sent a surgeon and an anesthetist. Medical and surgical supplies from Lokichokkio in neighboring Kenya have also just been flown into Malakal. MSF is providing surgical and post-operative care in collaboration with the ICRC and the Ministry of Health. MSF teams are currently also responsible for triage and stabilization of the wounded patients.
This latest violence comes just days after fighting broke out in Malakal itself on February 3. Assisting the Ministry of Health surgical teams, MSF provided pre- and post-operative care for wounded patients and helped with triage and stabilization. There were 23 inpatients admitted to the hospital with trauma injuries between February 3 and 6, some critically injured and requiring surgical intervention. A further six wounded patients from clashes in Melut were admitted to the hospital in Malakal on February 7.
MSF has been providing emergency medical humanitarian assistance in Sudan since 1979. Currently, MSF runs 13 projects across seven states in the country, providing a range of services, including primary and secondary healthcare, nutritional support, reproductive healthcare, kala azar treatment, counseling services, surgery, pediatric and obstetric care, as well as responding to emergencies as they arise.
In Malakal, MSF’s work is focused on providing medical care for patients affected by the neglected tropical disease kala azar. Last year, teams treated 2,766 patients with the disease.
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