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More newborns with defects in Ruweng

Author: Joakino Francis | Published: Friday, August 16, 2019

Hon. Mary Ayen, Member of Parliament representing Ruweng state at the council of States - July 2019 CREDIT: Joakino Francis/EyeRadio

The rate of newborns with defects is on the rise in Ruweng State, an MP representing the state at the Council of States has said.

Last month, a baby was born without a limb.

Hon. Mary Ayen said the baby is currently being observed by doctors in a hospital in Kenya.

The lawmaker added that she has seen the deformed baby that was recently brought to Juba from the state.

“A child was brought here to Juba and I saw it myself, it is a male baby boy, the right leg was almost just a small part of it, where the foot is just there but the whole leg is not there and the stomach was swollen showing that it is not a normal kid,” said Hon. Ayen.

Hon. Ayen added that such cases are many but the local people do not report them to the authorities.

“Most of the cases, we are informed that when they deliver such babies, they just bury them because sometimes people are very frightened,” said the MP.

“There is the high rates of deformation, high rates of abortion and these abnormality diseases and even blindness, even in cattle’s not only human beings and this is according to the report of the government not only civil society.”

Both local and international campaign groups recently reported widespread environmental pollution in the area, with both animals and people affected.

They say women are giving birth to deformed babies and stillbirths, claims the local people have confirmed.

In 2016, the Executive Director of the Nile Institute of Environmental Health, Dr. Bior Kuer told Eye Radio that the wastes are exposed to the local people which may be dangerous to their health in some of the fields.


He said awareness also needs to be raised to the local people to ensure they do not consume the waste which is majorly in the form of water.

“It is bad to the reproductive active population because if pregnant women are exposed to oil contamination, spontaneous abortion increases, children may be born with deformities,” Dr. Bior argued.

“But it is important to protect them from being exposed to these contaminants by first making sure that they understand and they are aware that some of these things are not good for their health.”

He added that the oil companies and the government should institute measures to ensure that people are not exposed.

In 2015, a German-based human rights group – The Economic Times – also reported that oil production pollution is threatening the health of thousands of people in South Sudan.

It said dangerous heavy metals used in oil production had leaked into drinking water sources used by 180,000 people with life-threatening health risks.


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