14 South Sudanese children die of malaria, malnutrition

Khartoum, Sep 8 (IANS) At least 14 children died of malaria and malnutrition in August alone in South Sudan, where the ongoing civil war is further exacerbating the poor medical conditions and inadequate public awareness of diseases, medical sources said on Tuesday.

“Wau hospital received 439 cases of children suffering from malaria and malnutrition during August… Fourteen children died in August, while the children’s wards are still crowded due to spread of malaria and malnutrition,” Xinhua cited James Angelo, a doctor in charge of children’s wards at Wau hospital, as saying on Tuesday.

He attributed the deaths to delay in hospitalisation and lack of blood transfusion.

He also called for higher levels of citizens’ awareness of the risks of disease, urging them to bring in patients to hospital for early treatment.

The United Nations has recently warned that 250,000 South Sudanese children are facing starvation due to the conflict that has been raging across the country since 2013.

It said one in three children is acutely malnourished in half of the country, two thirds of the country’s 12 million people are in dire need of aid and 4.5 million are facing severe food vulnerability.

South Sudan secured its independence in 2011 but plunged into violent clashes in December 2013 after fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Riek Machar.

The conflict soon became an all-out war taking on an ethnic flavor, pitting the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar Nuer’s ethnic faction.

The war has left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.9 million people to flee their homes.

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