South Sudan: WHO Takes Health Care Services Directly to Flood-Affected Communities in Mayom County

"The recent flooding has made access to healthcare difficult from our village to Mankien town as we have been cut off because of the devastating floods", said Mrs Angelina Nyapiny Ter, a 68-year-old woman from Pibor village.

"Thanks to the World Health Organization, the mobile medical service in Mayom County has given us a breath as the service has been brought to our village hence we do not have to walk 3-5 kilometers to access health services".

"She was experiencing severe pain when she came in", says Dr Amos Bobble, a doctor with the WHO mobile medical team. She was treated at the WHO mobile clinic established in Mayom County, in the Greater Unity Region.

When she was leaving the clinic Ms Nyapiny Ter said: "now I am going to get better because of what the doctor has given me".

Devastating floods leave nearly a million people in humanitarian crisis

"Relentless rain and flooding in many parts of South Sudan has left nearly one million people facing a humanitarian crisis", said Dr Otim Patrick C. Ramadan, the WHO Incident Manager for the flood response.

In September 2019, Mayom County experienced heavy rainfall which was exacerbated by rivers bursting their banks causing significant flooding in the county. This caused destruction resulting in the death of livestock, submerging huts and displacement of people and animals.

Although the actual number of people displaced by the flood is not known an estimated 8 233 households and 50 621 individuals were displaced due to floods.

Water born disease such as malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections and dermatological conditions increased significantly. Women, girls, boys and men had to walk in the water for 3-5 kilometers to access health care services.

Following the Interagency Rapid Needs Assessment conducted in October 2019, WHO and health cluster partners dispatched medical supplies to support the communities affected by the flood.

The WHO mobile medical team supported the County Health Department and health cluster partner to respond to the increasing cases of acute watery diarrhoea, malaria and other diseases.

"Thanks to the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF), WHO deployed mobile medical team along with 243 cartons of essential medicines and established mobile clinic close to the communities", says Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative in South Sudan.

Medical services are now taken close to the communities through mobile clinics and reduced preventable disabilities and death. Women, men, girls, and boys no longer walk 3-5 kilometers in the water to access health care services.

Mayom County is now better prepared to detect and respond to any outbreak. So far the mobile medical team have provided life-saving medical services to over 1 000 individuals.

WHO, in collaboration with health cluster partners is stepping up support to South Sudan's flood-affected communities. This includes strengthening diseases surveillance; deploying emergency medical services; providing drugs and supplies. The team also conducted a cholera risk assessment and developed a contingency plan for possible post-flooding outbreaks.

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