Emergency health care: Saving lives in Pariang, South Sudan

A member of staff assessing a child for malnutrition at Pariang hospital

CARE supports around 40 health centres across South Sudan – including this hospital in Pariang, Unity State, which is providing emergency health care to people affected by the conflict. But who are the people delivering these crucial services - and who are the people they are helping?

The hospital

The hospital in Pariang © CARE / Josh Estey

The hospital in Pariang

Pariang is a small town of 11,000 people, 120km from the regional centre of Bentiu. When conflict broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, the roads became too dangerous to transfer severe cases to Bentiu – so CARE established an operating theatre at Pariang hospital to treat the wounded and those in need of medical assistance.

The doctor

Dr Sam Ibrahim © CARE / Josh Estey

Dr Sam Ibrahim

Dr Sam Ibrahim has been working at Pariang hospital since 2012. “When the fighting started, people came here with serious injuries. We treated more than 200 patients with gunshot wounds. In May, the fighting subsided. But we don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

“Normally, we treat mainly malaria, respiratory diseases, measles, diarrhoea. The challenge is that we don’t have enough staff. We have two doctors, six nurses and only one trained midwife. If she is away, we have no one who can assist pregnant women.”

The midwife

Agnes Kaka © CARE / Josh Estey

Agnes Kaka

Agnes Kaka is the only trained midwife at the hospital. She helps five to 10 women giving birth per week. “The main problem for women is that they often have to walk long distances to come here. When they are pregnant and labour pains start, they are often too weak to come. So they give birth at home – and then suffer from complications.

“We could prevent maternal mortalities, if we had the proper equipment and if people would have better means to reach this hospital.”

The expectant mother

Gisma a patient at the hospital © CARE / Josh Estey

Gisma a patient at the hospital

Gisma is 19 years old and her second baby will arrive any time now. “I think it will come tomorrow. I feel a little pain, but otherwise I am fine. I hope it will be a boy. I already have a small boy, his name is Mayik.”

The patient

Fathia a patient at the hospital © CARE / Josh Estey

Fathia a patient at the hospital

Fathia, 24, recovers from surgery, after being brought to the hospital from nearby Yida due to complications with her pregnancy. “I have four other children, they now stay with neighbours. We live in the refugee camp in Yida, we are originally from Sudan, but had to flee the fighting there.”

The support staff

Victor Arop © CARE / Josh Estey

Victor Arop

Victor Arop has just walked six hours to get to Pariang. “I came here to collect medicines for the CARE health centre in Biu. In the rainy season, the roads are too muddy or flooded to drive.

“Biu is very far away, cut off from most of the aid assistance. People don’t have enough to eat and they often get sick. So our medicines run out quickly and sometimes I have to walk here every two weeks.

“Due to the conflict, many people are displaced as they had to seek safety. They could not plant their fields and now have to sell their assets, such as animals, to survive.

“When I am here in Pariang, I often help out in the pharmacy for a few hours, before I have to walk back.”

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.