South Sudanese surgeon wins 2018 Nansen Refugee Award

Evan Atar Adaha is honoured for his outstanding 20-year commitment in providing medical services to people forced to flee conflict.

Evan Atar Adaha, surgeon and medical director at a hospital in north-eastern South Sudan, is the 2018 winner of the Nansen Refugee Award, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced on 25 Sep.

The award is in recognition of Dr. Atar’s outstanding commitment and self-sacrifice in providing medical services to more than 200,000 people, including approximately 144,000 refugees from Sudan’s Blue Nile state, the agency said.

His team carries out an average of 58 operations per week in difficult conditions at the hospital in Bunj, Maban County, with limited supplies and equipment.

Since it is the only hospital in Upper Nile State, it is often crowded with patients and wards extend into the open air.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a peaceful referendum.

A civil war now in its fifth year has created South Sudan Africa’s worst refugee emergency in terms of numbers and the world’s third biggest refugee crisis.


“Thousands of lives have been saved.”


“Dr. Atar’s work through decades of civil war and conflict is a shining example of profound humanity and selflessness,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Through his tireless efforts, thousands of lives have been saved, and countless men, women and children provided with a new chance to rebuild a future.”