An escape bag used for medical care when a person runs away
Health workers are also moving forward.
How do they become civilians in permanent flight? Doctors without borders are testing a new strategy: a “runaway package”.
This backpack is made of tarpaulin and weighs about 12.5 pounds. What’s in there? Antibiotics, painkillers, antimalarial drugs (and rapid testing), bandage wound materials, oral rehydration solutions, water purification labels and pens, and published records. Medecins sans frontieres, short for a bag of luggage, aims to provide enough supplies to treat 50 to 70 people in two weeks. If a mass evacuation occurs, the idea is to require local staff to carry luggage.
In the early stages of development, doctors without borders said some suitcases should carry satellite phones and install solar panels to charge them. Then the staff realized that the packaging containing high-tech equipment might look like members of an armed group. So MSF dropped the idea.
These packages are also generic: they are black and have a small MSF logo on the back. Doctors without borders do not want people to target them on both sides of a conflict.
The idea of escape came from the group’s displaced units in Nairobi to support the “failed mission” team. They are talking to doctors without borders in southern Sudan, where they are loading their luggage on marshes as mobile clinic boats.
“We’re late,” said Anna santos, the head of the ministry of displacement, referring to the Nile state, which attacked south Sudan in January 2016.
This is when Wau Shilluk launched its mortar rounds from a market. It was an atmosphere of confusion. “People don’t go home, they take things, they just grab the kids and run out of town,” said Philippe Carr, a communications consultant for doctors without borders. Some rushed into the surrounding jungle, while others headed for the northern village for safety. Doctors without border hospitals were evacuated and robbed, carr said, and now “just the shell of the building.”
Underlying Wau Shilluk, 30, 000 people have been without health care for at least two weeks, santos said. They hardly went far. Even the healthiest people are at risk of dehydration. They may hurt their feet. They can catch malaria all the way from mosquitoes. During the dry season, they may turn to stagnant swamp water and try drinking water. Santos wants to create “very specific conditions if you’re walking in this environment for two weeks”.
Even without health risks, hiking is dangerous. Mr. Santos said some fleeing civilians had been robbed and beaten, and her team had received reports that a bag had been forcibly taken away.
In addition to looting and burning at home, government forces also fired into the rear as they tried to escape, amnesty international records.
Mr Santos did not know how quickly out-of-control luggage could be considered for the first time in February. By April, the government and rebel forces had erupted, and about 25,000 people had fled the town of cordok, which was resettled by thousands three months after leaving val hilluk. Santos said 29 health workers, each carrying a runaway bag, followed the fleeing population.
Currently, a small village in ABU luk has 10 runaway suitcases. It was the main destination to evacuate kodok in April. But in May, in addition to fighting nearby, food and water shortages led some 20,000 people to flee neighboring Sudan. Gunshots were heard near the 12-bed Aburoc medical facility of medecins sans frontieres this fall.
Thomas quinn, director of the Johns Hopkins center for global health, says out-of-control packaging is a useful idea. He compared it to a doctor’s bag, but there was more room to supply it. The backpack was free to use weapons, he said, so medical staff could help patients as much as possible: “when you move fast, nothing moves faster than the backpack.”
Not every aid group thinks the package is the solution. Jill John Kall, a senior health consultant at the IMC, says this is different from what the international medical team does. The council requires local or foreign staff to wait for vehicles at different locations along the route for safety. Health workers often treat dehydration, diarrhoea and other diseases common among displaced people. Sometimes local people will open hospitals to medical staff so that they can serve the people. But John carr agrees: “it is important to monitor the continued displacement of displaced persons, each of which has become more vulnerable.”
Medecins sans frontieres does not claim that its out-of-control bag can help the entire population. This is based on early feedback from two people who carry uncontrollable baggage. They followed people across the border into Sudan. A runaway bag carrier reported that he had given five people oral rehydration solutions, but wanted the backpack to include asthma medication.
Aziz Harouna, medical coordinator for doctors without borders in south Sudan, said the new package was ready a month ago at Aburoc. “To reduce the weight of the bag, we have removed some items, such as intravenous fluids,” Harouna said. This change reduces the load. As an alternative, there are more oral rehydration solutions that do not require trained health workers to manage.
The group says handbags are a way to reach people when helicopters or mobile patrols are not an option. “In this case, the impact we measure is not the number of people we help, but how we save our lives,” santos said. Medecins sans frontieres is considering placing uncontrollable luggage bags in unstable areas of Latin America.
Mr Santos says people who avoid violence do not necessarily consider the medical supplies they need to escape. They are scared, but if they know that health workers have been carrying their luggage, she says, “it gives them the power of this extra step.”