South Sudan: Dramatic increase in patients in Malakal’s UN site as living conditions jeopardise health of thousands (MSF blog post)


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South Sudan: Dramatic increase in patients in Malakal’s UN site as living conditions jeopardise health of thousands (MSF blog post)

Inadequate Water and Sanitation facilities Contribute to Health Risks

A news post by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) gives a real-world impact of poor water and sanitation on health. Referring to the situation in South Sudan, MSF post says that there are three times as many hospital patients and five times as many sick children as there were five months ago at a refugee camp in South Sudan. The Malakal camp is sheltering 48,000 people, but overcrowding and inadequate water and sanitation facilities are contributing to health risks.

Monica Camacho, MSF Program Manager for South Sudan says, “The sickness of our patients is directly related to the overcrowded and deplorable conditions in which they are living.” “More space must be immediately allocated to the people seeking shelter, and aid organisations must urgently improve the provision of basic services and necessities.”

Monica has made a very strong point – relating patients’ sickness to poor provision of basic services (implying water and sanitation). Government hospitals in Sindh, Pakistan, have poor sanitation facilities.

MSF post says that access to clean water and sanitation is inadequate, and children play in the mud surrounded by barbed wire and rubbish. The post further says: “Living conditions and sanitation are inadequate throughout the entire camp. The UN has designated about 0.5 km2 for the displaced people to shelter in, despite their numbers being equivalent to the population of a small city. The overall living space for the population is barely more than 10 m2 per person, which includes pathways and other spaces not used for habitation. In the most populated areas, there is just one latrine per 70 people, less than one third of the ratio required by humanitarian standards. Access to clean water is also below acceptable levels and many families lack access to
essential items such as blankets.”

The post, beyond doubt, makes out a strong case of health risks caused by poor sanitation. The post can be seen at:

F H Mughal
F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan

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