YIDA/JUBA – After actively responding to the medical needs of people in and around Yida, northern South Sudan, for the last eight years, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has handed over the project in Yida – where MSF has been supporting the outpatient department of the Yida Primary Health Care Center – to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and its partners on 31 December.
MSF arrived in Yida in December 2011 to respond to the humanitarian crisis that resulted from the influx of an estimated 65,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in South Kordofan. Now, eight years later, the context has evolved and stabilised, and we have been working closely with the MoH and its partners to facilitate the handover of medical activities and to ensure a smooth transition in health services for the Yida host community and refugee population.
MSF has been providing primary healthcare services, malaria testing and treatment, routine vaccinations, and hospital referrals. In addition to training MoH staff who will work in the facility, we have donated medical equipment and medicines to support the continuation of medical activities.
“Handing over the Yida project was not a decision that MSF took lightly,” said Lisa Jones, Deputy Project Coordinator. “In our eight years of service to the Yida community, we have provided healthcare services to thousands of people and reduced mortality in children under five by providing outbreak response and vaccination services.”
During our time in Yida, we had been one of the main healthcare providers in the area. The height of MSF’s response to the refugee influx started in 2012 when we set up inpatient and outpatient departments, an inpatient malnutrition department, provided outbreak response, conducted mass vaccination campaigns, and ran activities to ensure access to safe drinking water.
“While difficult, the decision does give us the freedom to reflect and reprioritise our resources so we can be ready to respond to future emergency needs in South Sudan,” Jones said. “We appreciate the Ministry of Health and its partners’ collaboration over the past years, and we welcome their willingness to manage these outpatient medical activities in Yida going forward.”
MSF often closes or hands over projects based on the changing health and humanitarian needs of a population, and our available resources. However, handing over a project does not mean putting an end to MSF’s activities in this country; we remain committed to providing assistance to the people of South Sudan and we are an active provider of emergency healthcare across the country.