* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A deadly surge in violence in South Sudan has given rise to massive population displacement, leaving tens of thousands in dire need of emergency medical care. Since December 15, the escalating conflict has displaced about 413,000 people in the fledgling country, while an additional 78,000 have fled to neighboring countries.
With the increased flow of people fleeing the clashes between government and armed opposition groups, one of the most urgent health needs is providing basic primary care to people living in overcrowded refugee communities where disease spreads quickly. As the situation again began to deteriorate in September 2013, AmeriCares delivered an emergency medical module to one of our partners working in the country, and we are currently coordinating with partners to meet further needs as the crisis evolves.
"In conflict zones, medical needs can quickly overwhelm local health care capabilities," explained Garrett Ingoglia, Vice President of Emergency Response at AmeriCares. "The number of people requiring medical assistance has greatly increased, both as a direct result of conflict, but also indirectly as general public health deteriorates."
In communities hosting large numbers of displaced persons and refugees, outbreaks of malaria and acute watery diarrhea have been worsened by overcrowding and lack of public sanitation. Given the very limited access to medical care in affected areas among the displaced, expectant mothers and babies are especially at risk.
From the early days of the crisis in 2012, our shipments have included: Emergency Medical Modules: Our medical aid shipments have replenished dwindling stocks of antibiotics, medicines and wound care supplies, enough medicine for up to 30,000 patients in affected areas. Health clinic rehab: In one Upper Nile state, we funded the rehabilitation of three clinics providing primary health care to approximately 13,000 people. A portable warehouse was provided to our partner to meet the logistical challenges of working in such a remote and rugged location. Deployment of our emergency response team to ensure that aid reached areas with the most urgent needs. Since gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan has been one of the world's poorest and under-developed nations, with little infrastructure and few hospitals or health centers. Amid the violence and instability in this troubled region, AmeriCares remains committed to helping the people of South Sudan as long as our support is needed.