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AROYO - 17 Aug 2012

Health crisis in Aroyo County due to rain

Rains have blocked roads in Aroyo County in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state cutting off the county from health services in the state capital. Diseases malaria and diarrhea are widespread, as well as anemia among pregnant women and children due to food shortages. Two women have died during childbirth due to lack of treatment and the absence of means of transport to Aweil Hospital.

Sultan Lena Jalal from the village of Oda in Aroyo said that the people in the county are living difficult in humanitarian conditions because of the rains that led to the destruction of roads and houses and caused a health and environmental disaster in the region, causing the death of two pregnant women and one child over the weekend.

Commenting on the death of the women, Aroyo County Commissioner Arkangelo Uchu Dichak blamed poor roads: “Lack of transport among payams in the county contributes to the death of women. For example, if someone falls sick it may take him or her one or two months to reach to where there is a hospital."

Commissioner Arkangelo called for support from the government in both health services and road-building. In an interview on Thursday Dichak said, "Hospitals need increased checking of cases to determine cases of malaria and other diseases rather than estimating there is malaria without medical checking, because of this I appeal to the government through Radio Tamazuj that it may assist Aroyo people by training more doctors, rather than two or three who are currently present"

However, the commissioner did not specify whether he is appealing to the state or central government for support in the health and transportation sectors.

According to Sultan Jalal, the increased rainfall has also caused terrible environmental conditions. He said that health in the county seat and its neighboring villages was poor.

It is not the first time for the people of Aroyo county to talk about their challenges. Last month during the inter-counties conference held in Aweil East, authorities from this area announced the outbreak of malaria in the county, and before the conference and up to now there is an outbreak of OV (a disease caused by bite of the tsetse fly) which causes infection of the eye ultimately resulting in blindness. The citizens of this area also complain of lack of mobile phone service.