Via ReliefWeb, a report from MSF based on a study conducted in late July: Health catastrophe continues, with mortality double the emergency threshold in Batil refugee camp, South Sudan. Excerpt:
Tragically, some of the refugees whose family members had died before they reached Batil camp cited “tired of walking” as the cause of death. This suggests an incredibly weak and vulnerable population arriving at the camp, and points to the massive need for assistance to those that managed to arrive alive, but weak.
Mortality more than double emergency levels*
Since the refugees’ arrival in Batil camp, mortality for the total refugee population is substantially above the emergency threshold, and mortality for children under five is more than double the emergency threshold.
Technically, the data is 1.75 per 10,000 per day for the total population, and 4.2 per 10,000 per day specifically for children under five, comparing to emergency thresholds of 1 and 2 per 10,000 per day respectively.
To put this in perspective, for children under five this is more than four times the ‘norm’ in a low-resource setting, meaning that four times more children are dying than we would expect to see if everything were ‘normal’.
Or to put it in other words, between three and four children under five years old have been dying on average every day in Batil camp.
More than half (58%) of reported deaths among the refugees since arrival in Batil camp have been children under five years old. More than 25% of reported deaths were for people over 50 years old. In many emergency interventions children under five are the first priority, but to see this level of mortality in over-fifties is unexpected and indicates a very vulnerable and weak population indeed.
Cause of death
The major cause of death reported while these refugees have been in Batil camp is overwhelmingly diarrhoea, constituting more than 90% of causes of death, with malnutrition likely to have been a contributory factor in many of the deaths.
A quarter (27.7%) of children under five are malnourished, and 10% are in the most severe acute stage of malnutrition requiring urgent therapeutic feeding. Even more shocking, nearly half (44%) of the children under two years old are malnourished, with 18% of them being in the most severe, potentially life-threatening stage of malnutrition.
Respiratory diseases rising
While respiratory tract infections constituted around one in ten consultations in Batil in June, they have been rising alarmingly and last week they constituted more than four in ten consultations in Batil.