Q&A: Former MSF South Sudan deputy on providing health services in conflict

Displaced South Sudanese in a Médecins Sans Frontières clinic at a United Nations Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu, South Sudan. Photo by: International Migration Organization / CC BY-NC-ND

The sixth anniversary of South Sudan’s independence passed almost without notice earlier this month, overshadowed by violence, extreme hunger, and instability.

Médecins Sans Frontières have become veterans of navigating the relentless cycles of violence that uproot civilians. As people run, MSF runs after them trying to provide medical care, said former country deputy director, Julie Reserve.

With more than 10 years experience in war zones, the safety risks in South Sudan were nothing new to Reserve. She has previously worked in hostile environments across Mali, Afghanistan and the Central African Republic. Reserve plans to assume a new role on the MSF Yemen team in the coming days.

Her most memorable tour in South Sudan, she told Devex, was in the northwestern town of Wau, situated seven hours outside the capital of Juba, and known for its enduring bouts of conflict. “In South Sudan and especially in Wau, the situation is so volatile, and people are moving all the time. It’s all about being with the people to understand what are the needs, where to go and how they move, which is the main issue today in South Sudan,” Reserve said.

This article is for Devex Members

For full access to the content of the article sign in or join Devex.

About the author

  • Christin roby

    Christin Roby

    Christin Roby is the West Africa Correspondent for Devex. Based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, she covers global development trends, health, technology, and policy. Before relocating to West Africa, Christin spent several years working in local newsrooms and earned her Master of Science in videography and global affairs reporting from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her informed insight into the region stems from her diverse coverage of more than a dozen African nations.