Bexhill doctor helping refugees in Africa

Sarah Woods, who is a health manager for Medair at Yusuf Batil refugee camp. Photo courtesy of Medair/Diana Gorter
Sarah Woods, who is a health manager for Medair at Yusuf Batil refugee camp. Photo courtesy of Medair/Diana Gorter
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A Bexhill doctor is helping to care for refugees in Africa in a camp for people displaced by war in their home country.

Sarah Woods is a health manager at Yusuf Batil refugee camp in South Sudan which provides shelter for people from Sudan who travelled south after violence broke out in their villages in 2011.

Sarah Woods at the opening ceremony of a delivery clinic at the refugee camp. Photo courtesy of Medair/Diana Gorter

Sarah Woods at the opening ceremony of a delivery clinic at the refugee camp. Photo courtesy of Medair/Diana Gorter

“Years of conflict have left the Sudanese refugees deeply scarred,” Sarah said.

“Now, being uprooted from their homes and living in a refugee camp that is hosting more than 40,000 people, they face other, enormous challenges.”

The 28-year-old worked as a doctor in Liverpool before joining international aid organisation Medair’s operation in the camp in August.

Sarah regularly hears stories from people who are stuck in Yusuf Batil because they cannot go home to Blue Nile State in Sudan due to the fighting between the government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North.

They cannot leave the camp because of the tensions between the communities and refugees, as well as the violence in Upper Nile State, where the camp is, which spread from the capital Juba.

“Hearing people’s stories and seeing how people have been so badly affected is heartbreaking,” Sarah said.

“The people are longing for peace and just want to go home but are too fearful.

“I’m happy that together with my colleagues I can make a life-saving difference in the lives of these people who are caught between wars and give them hope in an apparently hopeless situation.”

Malnutrition in children is a serious issue. Juma, a mother of five children, who lost her husband during the journey to the south, said: “I want to get a job, but I don’t have the chance. I want to help my children. I have very little food, but never enough. Every morning, I wake up thinking about how I can make money.”

Juma’s youngest child, one-year-old daughter Zenab, receives supplementary feeding in Medair’s nutrition programme because she had been diagnosed with acute malnutrition, along with hundreds of others.

For more information on Medair’s South Sudan programme, visit: www.medair.org/en/where-we-help/south-sudan.

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