In a remote northeast region of South Sudan lies a village that has been neglected and forgotten. Located in the northern part of Jonglei State, Old Fangak is home to a mostly Nuer tribe of South Sudanese people. It sits on the Zaraf River, a tributary of the Nile, in one of the largest swamps in the world: the Sudd. There are no roads to Old Fangak, and it is only accessible by boat or small aircraft.
There are approximately 5,000 people in Old Fangak, and a surrounding population of 10,000 or more, many who walk miles to receive medical services in Old Fangak. Currently, there is only one doctor to serve a wider catchment area of about 50,000 people.
The fatal parasitic disease kala-azar (leishmaniasis) is endemic to this region of Africa, If left untreated, this deadly disease is almost always fatal. When there is an outbreak, thousands of nearby villagers travel to Old Fangak to seek treatment. Dr. Jill Seaman is considered one of the world’s experts in treating kala-azar, and during an epidemic up to a thousand patients will seek treatment daily. When there is an influx of these patients, it puts a great burden on water and food resources on a village already lacking resources.