An Iowa doctor on a relief mission to South Sudan says he’s been seeing refugees in desperate conditions. Speaking from the capital city of Juba through a Skype connection, Dr. Alan Koslow described seeing a variety of medical problems, including malaria and eye infections.

“We came across two people, an infant and a young woman, on death’s door from dehydration and we immediately started an IV right there in the tent and gave them fluid,” Koslow said. “It was amazing the difference, from when we got there to when we left, how much more alert they were.”

Koslow is a vascular surgeon in Des Moines. He’s part of a team working to help meet the basic needs of refugees pouring in from Sudan. Koslow spent two days doing operations in a local hospital under what he describes as “very basic” conditions.

“One of the interesting things was we just used a bar of soap, unlike the U.S where we use a sterile brush and soap. And a woman would pour water from a non-sterile teapot over your hands, not heated, just pouring enough water to get soapy,” Koslow said.

Other members of his team are working on providing various types of relief to the Sudanese refugees, including food, water and shelter. Koslow left Iowa for South Sudan on June 25. He expects to return to Iowa next Tuesday.