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MSF hands over medical activities in Greater Mundri to South Sudan’s Ministry of Health
After more than five years of providing lifesaving care to the people of Greater Mundri in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria State, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has handed over its medical activities to the Ministry of Health in May 2022.
MSF mounted an emergency intervention in Mundri in 2016, in response to urgent humanitarian and medical needs. Greater Mundri had previously been known to have one of the country’s strongest and most reliable health infrastructures, however, all that changed when fighting intensified in the region during the second half of the South Sudan civil war. During this time, many health facilities were closed or destroyed, leaving people without access to medical care.
With high numbers of war-wounded, mass population displacement, and an increase in disease outbreaks, MSF saw a compelling need for a humanitarian intervention. MSF responded to at least seven instances of localised emergencies; distributing essential non-food items such as shelter supplies, and deploying mobile clinics to address acute health needs of the people displaced.
From an initial emergency intervention in response to the conflict, the project later evolved to the provision of primary healthcare. MSF set up five community-based healthcare sites to respond to the high prevalence of malaria, respiratory tract infections and diarrhoeal diseases, as well as two primary healthcare centres providing 24/7 emergency medical services, including sexual and reproductive health services.
During the five years in Greater Mundri, MSF has provided services for over 300,000 patients, including:
· conducting more than 190,000 outpatient consultations,
· treating 87,000 patients with malaria,
· delivering more than 520 babies,
· facilitated thousands of lifesaving referrals to secondary healthcare facilities.
Handover of medical services to MoH
As time passed, the situation in Greater Mundri has gradually stabilised. As a result, the Ministry of Health as well as other health organisations have returned to the region. After conducting an assessment on the health needs in the region, MSF decided to exist Greater Mundri and readapt medical activities to provide healthcare to communities in more neglected hard-to-reach areas in the country, where no other health organisations are present and basic services are almost non-existent.
“MSF is an emergency medical humanitarian organisation, and this emergency mandate is what brought us to Greater Mundri in the first place, which was experiencing renewed and ongoing conflict at the time,” said Vivegan Jayaretnam, MSF’s Project Coordinator for the Greater Mundri region.
“The situation has now stabilised, and the government’s efforts in rebuilding services, as well as the increasing number of health organisations in the area, gives us confidence that any potential gaps left by MSF’s departure will be minimised,” Vivegan added.
During the handover phase, MSF supported the South Sudan Ministry of Health to be able to take ownership of the healthcare system and ensure continuity of care in Greater Mundri. This included building and improving the health facility infrastructure, training and mentoring healthcare workers, as well as donating medical and logistical items such as medicines and ambulances.
Continued operations in other parts of South Sudan
As devastation caused by conflict, floods and disease outbreaks continue throughout various parts of South Sudan, healthcare needs remain immense. MSF now shifts its focus to the thirteen other projects it currently operates in South Sudan.