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Amid Rising Violence in South Sudan, International Medical Corps Continues Providing Essential Services

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 18:56 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

December 18, 2013 - Los Angeles - Three days of ethnic violence have left more than 400 dead in South Sudan, according to the UN, with many beginning to evacuate non-essential staff in response to the increased insecurity. International Medical Corps, which has been providing lifesaving services in South Sudan since 1994, is scaling down activities and taking appropriate actions to protect staff and assets. When security permits, International Medical Corps will conduct assessments to determine the needs of those affected by the violence.

On-going conflict in South Sudan has placed strain on the ability of humanitarian actors to respond to urgent needs on the ground. Despite the persistent insecurity, International Medical Corps has continued to deliver health services to nearly half a million people in South Sudan and work to address maternal health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, food security, and water and sanitation needs. Working in both rural and urban areas through 46 health facilities, including 2 hospitals, International Medical Corps provides approximately 20,000 medical consultations every month. In addition, International Medical Corps established and supports a national health training institute near Kajo Keji Hospital to increase the number of mid-level health professionals in South Sudan, with 150 newly trained midwives expected to graduate by 2015. In 2012, International Medical Corps responded to the urgent health needs of South Sudanese returnees in Upper Nile State when violence in Sudan caused over 100,000 people to flee.

International Medical Corps has decades of experience implementing medical programs in austere environments including during conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Darfur, Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.Its global security team is monitoring the situation in South Sudan closely and ensuring the utmost safety of its staff. With South Sudanese civilians suffering greatly, International Medical Corps hopes for a swift cessation of violence so that it can continue to provide relief to those who need it most.

Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps' mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit: www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org. Also see us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.