National, News

Majority South Sudanese lack health services

By William Madouk

National Minister of Health has disclosed that 66 percent of the South Sudanese population is without health coverage in the country.

Minister Yolanda Awel Deng stated on Monday that the primary healthcare system’s coverage only covers approximately 44 percent of the country’s population.

“Which is very sad, and this 44 percent, when you go to some of the villages, doesn’t even cover anything,” Awel said.

“While 66 percent of the population or area is not covered, what does that say? It says we are not doing a very good job; it is a challenge for all of us,” she added.

She made this remark before the members of the Council of States, who summoned her to answer queries on recurring cases of children born with deformities in oil-producing areas.

Ms. Awel explained that her docket depends largely on donor funding, but since the multi-donor trust fund ended, the ministry could not procure any drugs, equipment, or laboratory reagents.

“When we are responding, we need to be empowered; we need to make sure that we have mechanisms to ensure we do prevention properly,” she noted.

“We have the best doctors in South Sudan; I don’t want to mention them, but when you don’t have facilities, it is like sending a farmer or soldier to war without a gun,” Ms. Awel continued.

According to her, the health system is a shared obligation because it concerns South Sudanese communities.

“We have been sent to give services without anything; we cannot be effective. Healthcare facilities in South Sudan are a collective responsibility; it is not only the Ministry of Health’s issue,” she advised.

The minister of health said the budget allocated last year was small and appealed to lawmakers at the Upper House to increase the budget for the fiscal year 2023–24.

For the past ten years, South Sudan has relied on an organization called “Health Pooled Fund” to provide all medical services. But last year, the NGO withdrew and stopped supplying medicines to some parts of the country.

That put the country in a tight spot and made it ponder how to fill the healthcare gap left behind by the defunct Health Pool Fund.

In March 2023, the Ministry of Health launched and formalized the One-Health Multisector Coordination Mechanism (MCM) to mitigate any health crisis.

The platform would help with regard to the inclusive process to mitigate any health crisis in the country.

The South Sudan One Health Platform aims to promote a multi-sectoral, one-health approach to establish one health mechanism at the national and sub-national levels.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, maternal mortality in South Sudan ranges from 789 to 1,150 per 100,000 live births.

Besides, only 41 percent of people have access to safe drinking water, and only 11 percent have access to adequate sanitation facilities.



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