With this briefing paper, MSF seeks to bring into focus the impact of persistent violence on medical activities since 15 December 2013.
The information presented is far from exhaustive, and only highlights those incidents of which MSF has direct or verifiable knowledge.
Large parts of South Sudan have been engulfed in conflict for the past six months, since 15 December 2013. To date approximately 1.5 million people have fled their homes, with over one million displaced inside South Sudan, and 378,000 seeking refuge in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
One particularly stark aspect of the conflict has been violence against healthcare. Patients have been shot in their beds, medical and humanitarian staff have been killed,and hospitals, ambulances and medical equipment have been burnt, looted and otherwise destroyed.
It is important to note that many incidents that deny the wounded and sick access to healthcare go unreported; this is particularly the case in rural areas.
While this briefing paper focuses on violence against healthcare in the past six months, attacks against medical care are not new in South Sudan. Throughout its 30-year history in the country, MSF – as well as other humanitarian organisations and healthcare providers – has repeatedly witnessed violence against staff, patients, vehicles, compounds and healthcare facilities. What has been particularly alarming in the current conflict, however, has been the scale and breadth of the violence.