Usually we receive no warning of the imminent arrival of bomb blast victims. They normally arrive in a cloud of panic; chaotic screaming ensues and staff members run to man their posts. This time we are prepared. From the time of the phone call it should be twenty minutes before they arrive, not much time to ready the Emergency Room but I am surprised at how much gets done. We clear the resuscitation room and triage area, we prepare IV bags and bandages and then we prepare a queue of stretchers outside.
2am “Oncall, oncall for ICU – we have one child yes, they are convulsions…” I jolt into wakefulness and am out of my bed and running over to the hospital as fast as I can go telling the nurses to prepare IV diazepam down the radio as I go. This could be anything, but always think worst case scenario… I arrive on the ward and yes, this is actual convulsions, a four-year-old with cerebral malaria.
Somehow they all made it through the night. And so did I. Albeit tense, tired and slightly tearful.
On Thursday, we held a sort of clinic in the Ninenyang Health Centre as they are out of drugs and have a malaria crisis. It was a really hard day. The weather’s been heating up again and it was over 40°C in the shade. When people heard we were there they literally came running, babies in arms!
On the day of the attack, many people were killed and others were wounded. They set tukuls (huts) on fire and threw children in the fire. I collected the children to run away but, because I am old, I cannot run fast and they killed the children that were with me. I was running with three children; two were killed and one was wounded. As the attackers came, they hit me with the end of the Kalashnikov and stabbed me in the head and they tried to kill the children. If the child can run, they will shoot them with the gun; if they are small and cannot run, they will kill them with a knife. The baby that survived was beaten to the head. They picked her up and threw her on her head, so she has head trauma. She is better now.
55-year-old female patient from Wek (Uror county), treated in Nasir (Upper Nile state), March 2012
Ongoing violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state has had a devastating impact on tens of thousands of people, with many forcibly displaced and further cut off from health care due to the destruction of medical facilities. A new MSF report contains harrowing accounts of civilians caught up in attacks on villages.