Strengthening the Health System, Delivering results
“This laboratory will help us streamline care, identify illnesses and help doctors treat our patients” explained Honourable Jehan Mechek Deng, Minister of Health at the opening of the laboratory at the Bor State Hospital in May 2013. The laboratory is one of seven that built throughout South Sudan with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
South Sudan has some of the lowest health indicators in the world, which is further complicated by a lack of physical infrastructure and skilled manpower to address key challenges related to public health. South Sudan is, however, making progress in strengthening the health system and delivering results.
As Principal Recipient of the Global Fund since 2004, UNDP has assisted the Government of South Sudan to deliver HIV, TB and Malaria services while supporting the Ministry of Health to administer resources to construct needed health facilities. Since 2012, UNDP has supported the construction of seven laboratories and two blood banks in the country, marking important progress in a system which otherwise relies on blood donation through family members, and without facilities to safely store blood. These investments enhance the delivery of quality medical services to an estimated 4.6 million people across six states.
The impact of the Global Fund programme goes beyond simply providing facilities, to include improvement of basic health through the provision of health sector workers. “The facility will save lives…our doctors were handicapped by a lack of a laboratory and were force to refer cases to Juba or beyond”, stated Honourable Kuol Manyang Juuk, Governor of Jonglei.
At the same time, women who were previously attended to in a single-room, serving as both an antenatal clinic and delivery room, which compromised hygiene, privacy and quality care, can now receive improved access to services through the construction of 13 antenatal clinics and five maternity wards throughout the country. In Jonglei, the Ministry of Health, with support from UNDP and the Global Fund plan to open two antenatal clinics in Akobo and Pochalla counties.
Health and Human Development
Health and human development are critical for the nation’s development. As Balázs Horváth, Country Director UNDP explained “If children are healthy they can excel in school; if adults receive needed medical care they can provide for their families and learn new skills; and if communities are strong, they can collectively invest in their livelihoods and build better futures.”
In addition UNDP has supported the Government in establishing the first College of Nursing and Midwifery to educate health care professions, training support for healthcare professionals working on Tuberculosis, as well as strategy development to address HIV/AIDS and providing needed TB and HIV treatment.