Marie Stopes International Australia

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Family planning services resume in conflict-torn South Sudan

16 Jan 2014 | Refugees and IDPs.

The situation in South Sudan remains volatile, but we are pleased to have resumed provision of sexual and reproductive health in limited areas of the country, bringing life-saving services to vulnerable women and displaced civilians.

Ongoing conflict

Since an alleged military coup at the end of last year, South Sudan has been torn by conflict, forcing huge numbers of civilians to flee to refugee camps and across the country’s borders. While talks to negotiate a ceasefire are ongoing, the situation remains unpredictable and the threat to life is real. In this emergency setting, health services are needed more than ever.

The immediate threat forced us and other NGOs to temporarily withdraw from the country and suspend services. Having reviewed the situation thoroughly, we have now reinstated staff to continue operations, while temporarily relocating our support office.

Clinics and refugees

Sexual and reproductive health is a life-saving component of any humanitarian response, so we’re delighted that our clinical teams are once again offering a full range of services at clinics in Juba and Torit. This includes short-term and long-term family planning methods and general medical services.

Given the huge dislocation of civilians, we have focused our outreach teams on providing services to internally displaced people. We also aim to establish a clinic in Nimule on the Ugandan border to help refugees as they seek to flee danger. And more than ever, we are working with the government and other NGOs to build their capacity to provide family planning in emergency settings.

Continuing services

The Marie Stopes South Sudan team is constantly reviewing options for continued and expanded service delivery that ensures all team members remain safe. Our Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Grethe Petersen, said:

Access to our life-saving services is essential in a country where a woman is more likely to die during or immediately after pregnancy than complete primary education. I want to thank our team for their dedication to our mission and work throughout this challenging time.

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