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Violence against facility adds to grim health sector in South Sudan

By Okech Francis

The health sector in South Sudan is already stretched to the limit and continued violence against it worsens the situation.

Health facilities across the country are hit left and right while people die of ailments that are treatable around the world.

In Unity State, Padeah Primary Health Care Unit and neighboring health care facilities are the latest to be looted in armed violence recently, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

The ICRC condemned the looting which it said left one health worker dead.

“Vital health care services are no longer available in this isolated community at a time when they are most needed,” said Nathaniel Rees, Head of the ICRC Office in Leer.

“This is a tragic reminder of why the respect of health care facilities, workers and equipment remains a critical responsibility for communities, armed actors and the authorities.”

According to the ICRC, people wounded during the clashes have had to walk up to 30km across heavily flooded terrain to access health care following the looting of Padeah Primary Health Unit.

The facility, which serves 8,400 people, has recently been renovated and equipped and also received medical and other supplies and support to provide essential services including vaccinations to the community.

“We call on those involved in armed violence to exercise restraint, and respect health facilities and health workers to ensure they can continue to provide health care services needed by the community,” ICRC said.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, poor access to health services, a limited number of health workers and lack of access to health services in South Sudan have produced some of the worst health indicators in the world.

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