n the morning of September 30, the International Rescue Committee put out an urgent call to the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The UNMISS hospital serving the “protection of civilians” (POC) camp in Bor, which shelters people displaced due to conflict, had received a woman in labor with profuse bleeding. The doctors determined she needed an emergency c-section, but the hospital did not have capacity for that level of care.
They requested urgent medevac to Juba. However, the time involved even to get a helicopter in the air from Juba, not to mention transport time, would take several hours — time the patient did not have. Meanwhile, Bor State Hospital with eight attending physicians and a newly renovated operating suite and maternity was just 10 minutes down the road.
The catch was that the woman was a Nuer, and Bor State Hospital is run by Dinkas. The ongoing conflict in South Sudan, which began in December 2013, is largely between the Dinka and Nuer tribes. Fortunately, this conflict is political in nature and does not transcend humanitarian care. When they realized a transfer to Juba was not a viable option, WHO contacted IMA World Health — the lead organization working to strengthen health care in Jonglei State through the World Bank-funded Rapid Results Health Project — requesting a way forward. IMA contacted the Medical Director at Bor State Hospital and, without hesitation, he requested that the patient be brought in.