Home | News    Sunday 25 September 2011

South Sudan appeals for international assistance to improve health services


By Ngor Arol Garang

September 24 (JUBA) - The government of newly-independent South Sudan has appealed for international assistance to help address some of the challenges confronting provision of basic health services.

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Dr. Michael Milli Hussein, South Sudan minister of health - (photo Lomyat)

Building a health care system is seen by the United Nations as one of the priorities that the newly independent state should undertake. Health experts consider that South Sudan needs at this stage three basic things: education, better nutrition, and simple drugs. They also call for a special attention to women and children health.

Speaking at the United Nations headquarters in New York, South Sudan’s Minister of Health, Dr. Michael Milli Hussein, during a meeting with Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA), said the horrific and alarming maternal and child health indicators are among the worst of all challenges that South Sudan is facing.

"I take this opportunity to appeal to the International Community, related United Nations’ Agencies, donors, development partners, INGOS, philanthropic organisations and individuals to support us in our endeavour to promote the health of the people of the Republic of South Sudan and make it a better and safe place to live”, the minister said in a statement seen by Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

Hussein attributed the lack of health facilities to civil war, which raged almost continuously from 1955 until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. An estimated two million died and four million were displaced in the most recent war which began in 1983. Due to conflict and neglect the infrastructure of the region had never developed.

The health minister, who is part of a delegation accompanying the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, on his first post-independence visit to the UN said the people of South Sudan had been deliberately denied access to basic services for decades. He gave the example that it is one of the worst places in the world to be a pregnant women as there is a very low chance of surviving pregnancy.

“It is equally unlikely for many children to see their 5th birthday because of high maternal mortality rate. 2054/100000 life births and infant mortality is 105/1000 life births per year. Vaccination is at its lowest. Percentage of women attending up to 4 antenatal visits is only 10%,” the statement says.

“Proportion of deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants is 14% and that Family planning is unheard of by the majority of women in the country."

“Incredibly, there are only eight (8) obstetricians and ten (10) registered midwives for a population of about 10 million. The few health facilities which were there got destroyed as part of the war strategy during the liberation struggle," the statement adds.

Hussein outlined plans and the mission of the Ministry of Health to improve life expectancy; through increasing accessibility to essential health services for all which could be achieved by a comprehensive, universal and integrated quality health care programme.

South Sudan has unequivocally committed itself to reducing high maternal and infant mortality rates and improve the general health status of the entire population. However, there, are many challenges that hinder the delivery of health services, said minister Hussein.

He said some of the challenges include but are not limited to insufficient human resource in both numbers and skills. Low institutional capacity, inadequate funds as only 4.2 percent of the government’s budget goes on health. However the government has committed itself to gradual increase this to 15 percent by 2015.

Hussein identified poor infrastructure as one of the contributing factors to the rising mortality rate and inadequate funding due to competing priorities, e.g. education, food, water and sanitation as of the main challenges facing his ministry.

“These challenges, he said, are compounded and aggravated by the frequent and massive population displacement such as that of the people of Abyei and the southwards influx of refugees from the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile regions of the North Sudan. The international community and the governments need to support South Sudan to face the looming crisis which is likely to impact negatively on health service delivery in the states bordering North Sudan”.

Minister Hussein further reiterated the commitment of the South Sudan government to adopt policies and strategies aimed at delivering health care services with especial focus on maternal and child health as alternative to addressing some of the challenges.


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  • 25 September 2011 14:44, by Analyst

    What are we doing as a people to improve this horrendous situation? Instead of allocating more fund to priority areas such as health, we continue to inflate government and political positions, some portfolios being redundant and yet we keep on preaching to the world how dire is our situation.
    More money could be saved by keeping the government lean, and allocating more fund to hiring qualified medical personal. We will not get anywhere without endeavoring to pay doctors, nurses and other health professionals their dues

    repondre message

    • 25 September 2011 19:52, by Khondkar Ishtiaque Hossain

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    • 14 November 2012 05:15, by terminationdot

      This post is helpful with an analysis I am doing for a specific group of people. Do you have any other articles to suggest on this topic? Thanks

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  • 25 September 2011 16:51, by whatsayyou

    Daer Sir.

    DR.Milli Michael.

    I agree with you,health is our main priority to be solved immidiatly after our return from war, because we did not get time to solve it during war time. each and every health worker was in the war frone. but our government has forgotten completely about health, most specially our president salvar kiir his aim is about militry only.I myself witness some south sudanese Doctors plus our health personels who give up to work in the hospitals because of low salary and prepared to join army.
    I also appeal you as you appeal to international community to talk to kiir our president to change his aim of puting army as only goal but to think at least about doctors and lecturer in the universities ,they must be compare with generals in the army or even ahead .Because they have material which is very helpfull to all people of south sudan.You also tell to Beny KIIR that if he improve health and education then civil community will realy feel the wil of his Good leadership.

    Get me on this:0926755770

    repondre message

  • 26 September 2011 15:54

    i would give thank to His Excellence President of Republic of South Sudan for the current meeting which had focus on Health issue in which the peoples from south sudan had suffer during in war with out services or Health facility and Number of children and child bearing age mother die because of no enough medicine and i really know the ministry of Health will overcome the challenge of the Health

    repondre message

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