Chapter IV: Hospital



The MSF Hospital in Malakal started out as a handful of tents under which, in early 2014, dozens of wounded were attended to. Months later, MSF erected a secondary healthcare hospital to cope with the immediate needs of people living in and around the camp.


In these makeshift tents, MSF treated dozens of injured after the fighting in Malakal in February 2014. | ANNA SURINYACH


What kills here is not just the war: it’s malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis and kala azar (leishmaniasis) . “Patients arrive late,” says Xavier Casero, a doctor at the hospital. “We are working with the community to stop this from happening. The combination of malaria, malnutrition and chronic diseases accounts for the high mortality rate we have here.”

There are 40 beds in this hospital: a large airy tent, half of it dedicated to paediatrics. You only need to stroll between the beds to see the scope of the suffering. Rarely do patients have just one disease. “Epilepsy and malaria,” says a medical chart hanging on the bed of a young South Sudanese. “Malaria and anaemia,” says another. Babies arrive with malnutrition and tuberculosis. The list is endless.

Deaths from gunshot wounds get more attention in the news, but there are many people - too many - dying from other causes related to the conflict and the situations in which they are subsequently forced to live.

“Here, people die nearly every day,” Xavier says. And the main reason? the deplorable living conditions for the tens of thousands of displaced people who live in these camps.


A patient is brought to the MSF hospital in a wheelbarrow in Malakal, South Sudan. | ANNA SURINYACH


For those in the camp still waiting to go home, their futures remain bleak and uncertain.