© Matthias Steinbach

South Sudan

The world's youngest country has been plagued by violence since its founding

South Sudan became the world’s newest country after gaining independence from Sudan in July 2011.

Map of MSF's activities in South SudanThe 2005 peace deal that led to South Sudan’s new beginning ended Africa’s longest running civil war.

But, in December 2013, the landlocked country in eastern central Africa – home to more than 12 million people – was plunged back into chaos. A civil war erupted amid a power struggle between the president and his deputy.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders has been working in the area that now constitutes South Sudan for more than 30 years, responding to conflicts, neglected diseases and filling healthcare gaps wherever needed.

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MSF’s work in South Sudan: 2016

More than three years of ongoing conflict - which has included extreme violence against civilians - has forced millions of people across South Sudan from their homes. 

Hundreds of thousands have been unable to access basic services such as food, water, primary and secondary healthcare, for months at a time and live in fear for their lives. 

In 2016, MSF continued to respond to the urgent medical needs of people affected by violence and maintained its essential healthcare programmes across South Sudan - despite the growing challenges we face to reach those who need us the most.

As insecurity and violence spread across the country, providing humanitarian assistance has become increasingly complex - and, in places, more dangerous to provide.

February 2016

The protracted conflict in South Sudan's Mayendit and Leer counties is having a profound effect on the local population. Men, women and children are regularly forced to flee their homes to escape fighting, and struggle to access essentials, including food, water and healthcare.

In recent weeks, MSF teams have encountered extremely high levels of malnutrition and have launched an emergency response to treat malnourished children.


After fighting broke out in Juba (South Sudan's capital) in July, we set up a surgical facility and ran mobile clinics across the city.

In the first month, one team treated 9,242 people for violence-related injuries and health problems caused by deteriorating living conditions.

We also helped the Ministry of Health set up and run a cholera treatment centre.

© Pierre-Yves Bernard/MSF

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Great Upper Nile Region

Our clinic in Pibor provides inpatient and outpatient care, including emergency services. Looting in February temporarily halted activities, but the clinic was fully operational once more by April. Towards the end of the year, we started offering surgery.


Our staff continue to offer medical care to the 50,000 South Sudanese refugees in Doro camp, as well as the local community in Maban county. During a spike in malaria, we deployed mobile clinics and tested 9,970 people for the disease.


Our hospital in Lankien is the only functioning medical facility in the area. Here, the main health concern is malaria.

In 2016, we:

  • Admitted 1,068 patients to the therapeutic feeding programme.
  • Provided treatment to 1,530 patients for kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis - a potentially fatal disease spread by sandflies).
  • Carried out a total of 116,944 outpatient consultations at Lankien hospital and Yuai health centre.


We continued to train staff and rehabilitate buildings at Bor state hospital.  From April, the team supported surgery and worked to improve the pharmacy, sterilisation and waste management.


In the war-torn Fangak area, we refocused our presence to provide access to healthcare. We progressively handed over our outpatient activities in Old Fangak and started activities in New Fangak - where only a few other humanitarian organisations are present. In Old Fangak, we supported a 40-bed hospital. Here, we carried out 66,000 outpatient consultations and admitted 1,800 patients.


Insecurity led many more civilians to seek refuge at the PoC site in Bentiu. We remain concerned about the consequences of the sub-standard conditions, and their effect on the health of 120,000 people living there. We run the only hospital on the site - a 160-bed facility with an emergency room, operating theatre and maternity unit.

We also:

  • Run treatment for sexual and gender-based violence, HIV, tuberculosis (TB), cholera, malaria and kala azar.
  • Run health promotion, monitoring and outreach activities across the site and in Bentiu town.
  • Conducted 40,380 primary healthcare consultations.
  • Admitted 4,325 patients.


Leer and Mayendit Counties

Leer and Mayendit counties remain a conflict zone, and humanitarian needs are immense.

In early 2016, we set up emergency services in the area as intense fighting displaced thousands of people - mostly into nearby swamps.

Mobile teams provide basic healthcare, focusing on malaria, respitory tract infections, diarrhoeal diseases, nutritional support, vaccinations and treatment for victims of sexual violence. In July, medical activities were temporarily disrupted when the MSF compound in Leer town was looted.

In Yida, we offer a broad range of inpatient and outpatient servies - including vaccinations, and HIV and TB treatment - to refugees from South Kordofanm Sudan.

In Mayom county, we run a mobile clinic in partnership with the Ministry of Health offering basic emergency healthcare, plus HIV and TB treatment.

In February, our hospital in Malakal PoC site was attacked. Over 25 people were killed, including two members of staff.

We published a report on the events and launched an international advocacy campaign, where we:

  • Called on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to provide credible security to civilians under its care.
  • Ushered them to improve the conditions in the PoC. 

In June, a new 60-bed hospital was completed on the site to replace the existing structure. We also opened a medical centre in Malakal town - including outpatient and inpatient departments, and a delivery room to cater for the growing population. 

On the opposite bank of the White Nile, Wau Shilluk hospital continues to provide primary and secondary healthcare for displaced people who have settled in the area.

Equatoria region

Following an increase in violence in the region, we set up a clinic in Yei - providing healthcare, mental health support and vaccinations. Mobile teams were deployed in November, treating 1,368 patients in the first week.

The same month, we were forced to suspend our project in Mundri after after an armed robbery.

Despite sporadic clashes in the Yambio area, we continued our 'test and treat' programme, which focuses on providing HIV treatment to patients as soon as they are diagnosed.

Bahr El Ghazal region

Aweil hospital (the only secondary healthcare facility in the area), serves 1.5 million people. In 2016, the team provided maternal and child care, as well as responding to a sharp peak in malaria cases.

Further South (in Wau), we carried out around 42,000 consultations when violent clashes displaced over 60,000 people in June.

Agok, Abyei Special Administrative Area

Agok hospital provides specialist and emergency care to over 140,000 people in remote Abeyi.

In 2016, our teams:

  • Carried out 50,000 consultations.
  • Performed 1,600 surgical interventions.
  • Treated over 40,000 malaria patients in isolated villages (under our malaria programme).



At the end of 2016, our team started to wind down operations in the Melut medical facility, as other organisations had stepped in to provide healthcare.

In Gogrial, where we started working in 2009, most medical activities were handed over to the Ministry of Health in May. 

our international activity report

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