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Waiting for the best luck

Health care is non-existent in many rural areas of South Sudan and people just surrender to the fate.

Nyakong Kiir reacts as she assists her daughter-in-law Nyanom, after being infected with malaria in Padding, South Sudan. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran – AFP
Nyakong Kiir reacts as she assists her daughter-in-law Nyanom, after being infected with malaria in Padding, South Sudan. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran – AFP

In Padding, a small remote village in South Sudan, inside a shelter still under construction, there is a crowd of people surrounding a woman lying on the ground. Her name is Nyanom, she is 26 years old and suffers a severe malaria infection. She came to Padding from an even smaller town, few miles away, and malaria surprised her when she was in the market. People dragged her to the hut and are now watching her expectantly, to see how her infection evolves. That’s all they can do, apart from a couple of pills that the local healer gave her. There is nothing more to do. The nearest clinic is ten hours on foot and the only thing left is to wait for the Nyanom’s body to survive.

This is the fate of those hundreds of thousands living in the rural South Sudan. With a life expectancy that the civil war and the economic crisis has reduced to 56 years, the South Sudanese just surrender themselves to the fate.

On this last occasion, Nyanom survived. She spent the night in a villager’s house and the next day she was able to walk back home, to wait for the next encounter.

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