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2014-07-03

AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - 6 hospitals looted or burned in a few months, at least 58 people killed in the hospitals

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - Violence in hospitals and the destruction of medical facilities are denying medical services to many of South Sudan's most vulnerable people, said Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the report: "South Sudan Conflict: Violence Against Healthcare". Since armed conflict erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, at least 58 people have been killed on hospital grounds, and hospitals have been ransacked or burned on at least six occasions. According to the statement released by the NGO Doctors Without Borders "the conflict has at times seen horrific levels of violence, including against healthcare facilities. Patients have been shot in their beds and lifesaving medical facilities have been burned and effectively destroyed". Hospitals have been ransacked in the towns of Bor, Malakal, Bentiu, Nasir and Leer, often during periods of heavy fighting. The MSF's hospital in Leer, in southern Unity State, was destroyed along with most of town in late January and early February. It was the only facility providing secondary healthcare, including surgery and treatment for HIV and tuberculosis, in an area with approximately 270,000 people. Entire buildings were reduced to ash, and equipment needed for surgery, vaccine storage, blood transfusions, and laboratory work were destroyed. South Sudan state hospitals have been the sites of some of the worst violence. At Bor State Hospital, 14 patients and one Ministry of Health staff member were shot dead during violence in December. Fourteen people, including eleven patients shot in their beds, were killed at Malakal Teaching Hospital in February. At Bentiu State Hospital, at least 28 people were killed in April, including at least one Ministry of Health staff member. Because of the conflict in South Sudan, nearly 1.5 million people had to leave their home. Among these there are a million displaced people in the Country and 378 thousand are seeking refuge in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Life expectancy is 54 years of age, the maternal mortality rate is 730 per 100 000 live births. More than half of the population lives more than 5 km walk from the nearest health center. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 03/07/2014)

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