September 16, 2016 (JUBA) – Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in South Sudan has introduced new measures which restrict medical referrals abroad due to the ongoing economic crisis in the young country.
- South Sudan minister Stephen Dhieu Dau (Getty photo)
Minister of Finance, Stephen Dhieu Dau, in an order issued on Wednesday, said there is no budget allocated for medical referrals this year. He said any claims of payment for the referrals has therefore been cancelled.
“All requests for payments and claims from all public institutions, meant for treatment of public officials outside the country are hereby cancelled by this order until the approval of 2016/2017 Financial Year Budget,” Minister Dau wrote in the statement dated 14 September.
“Any public institution or agency that intends to budget for medical referrals must also be done in controlled and verifiably admissible cases,” he further directed in the order seen by Sudan Tribune.
The country has been spending hundreds of thousands of US dollars every year to refer abroad some of its officials for medical treatments. The new order instead suggested the need to improve on the existing hospitals in the country which can be used for the referrals instead of to abroad.
Dau said the ministry together with the ministry of health were working on mechanisms for future referrals.
It remains unclear how the country, hit by economic crisis, plans to secure funds for upgrading of the existing poorly equipped hospitals.