Samantha Hui OT Nurse
Year of joining MSF:2020
Number of Missions:1
Mission Countries:South Sudan

Stories from
our field workers

South Sudan Life-saving Mission during pandemic
The pandemic caused a sharp drop in logistics and medical supplies could not be delivered to South Sudan. We had to think twice before using each piece of gauze. Apart from providing care to existing patients, we had to reserve enough resources to prepare for mass casualties that could happen any time.

From January to September 2020, Samantha Hui Wing Sum, an operating theatre nurse, worked in an MSF mission in South Sudan and witnessed the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on MSF operations.

Frequent violent conflicts since the civil war in 2013 have resulted in an estimated 5 million internally displaced people. In Bentiu, the UN protection of civilians site accommodated approximately 100,000 people. The MSF hospital, where Samantha worked, is the only medical facility in that region.  For nine months, the hospital did not receive any new medical supplies by air because of international transport limitations during COVID-19. 

“We had to think twice before using each piece of gauze. Apart from providing care to patients, we had to reserve enough resources to step up preparedness for mass casualties that could happen any time.” Samantha said.

Samantha had to find ways to conserve medical supplies while providing care to patients. As no new supply could reach South Sudan, Samantha worked closely with other MSF projects in the country to reallocate and shuffle resources amongst projects to meet urgent medical needs.

Apart from the shortage of medical supplies, it was also difficult to send international fieldworkers to South Sudan. Samantha's team once had 23 members yet it [MAY BE ..”fell to 11 due to” OR “was reduced by 11 due to restrictions in travel and lockdowns. But with people and material running low, the medical team encountered the most serious mass casualty incident since the establishment of the project. There was a mass shooting in the neighbourhood, with 27 people injured and sent to the hospital.

“Although we were a small team, we had a clear division of labour. While waiting for the arrival of the injured patients, we worked together to convert the wards into makeshift emergency rooms with the necessary medicine and equipment, so that patients could be treated once admitted,” Samantha said. “With the lack of manpower and supplies, teamwork became crucial. It was tough. But I felt strongly motivated every time I saw a patient recover, which made every effort worthwhile.”


Places where MSF works

South Sudan
In July 2011, South Sudan became the world’s newest country after gaining independence from Sudan, and the split ended Africa’s longest running civil war. But in December 2013, South Sudan was plunged back into chaos as civil war erupted in this newest country. The conflict has forced millions of people from their homes and left many without access to basic necessities, such as food, water and healthcare. MSF works in hospitals and clinics throughout South Sudan, where we run some of our biggest programmes worldwide. In 2019, we conducted over a million outpatient consultations in the country.
Since the armed conflict started in 2014, an estimated 230,000 people have died as a result. Up to November 2020, there had been more than 22,000 airstrikes in the country, including attacks on medical facilities, causing the medical system on the brink of breakdown. MSF has worked in Yemen since 1986. In 2019, we had more than 2,500 staff members in Yemen, working at 12 hospitals and healthcare centres in areas including Hajjah, Aden, Khamer, Taiz and Hayden, and supporting more than 20 healthcare facilities in 12 governorates across the country. We conducted 308,900 outpatient consultations.
In India, healthcare is a challenge for millions of people in India due to a combination of poverty, social exclusion and an over-burdened public health system. MSF started working in India in 1999.We run mobile clinics in remote areas of the country and work with vulnerable communities, providing medical care linked to infectious diseases, mental health, sexual violence and malnutrition. In 2019, we assisted 1,440 people to start their treatment for tuberculosis./div>