Vice President H.E. James Wani Igga Visits the National Public Health Laboratory

May 24, 2017

H. E. James Wani Igga, Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan with a laboratory specialist, and UNDP Acting Country Director, Jean Luc Stalon. Photo: UNDP

On the occasion of the laying the foundation stone for the Emergency Operation Centre seconded by WHO and funded by the Government of Japan, H. E. James Wani Igga, Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, along with Hon. Dr. Riak Gai Kok, Minister of Health, Hon. Deng Deng Hoc Yai, Minister of Education and Instruction, Dr. Makur Kariom, Undersecretary for the Ministry of Health, Mr. Bol Makueng, Secretary for External Affairs, Hon. Fasta Oduho, State Minister Health, Imatong State, Mrs. Mary Paul, Deputy Secretary for Social Affairs, Mr. Deng Machang, President of South Sudan Chiefs Council, The Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan, H.E. Kiya Masahiko, Dr. Abdulmumini Usman, WHO Representative, and UNDP Acting Country Director, Jean Luc Stalon, visited the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), created with UNDP's support.

Government officials accompanied by doctors and laboratory specialists walked through the facilities, the National TB Reference Laboratory (NTRL), PCR Laboratory, and the National Blood Transfusion Center (NBTS), where the professionals explained to them how the new equipment, installed by UNDP through Global Fund, is helping them to work more efficiently to detect diseases on a shorter frame time and make an effective diagnostic, hence, making them able to save more lives.

“If we cannot identify diseases like cholera, then what we can do for our people? Before, the patients from other cities such as Bor had to send their stool samples to Juba, and then from here we sent it to Nairobi, and then the results came to us from Nairobi”, explained Dr. Kok. “That used to take a really long time. We were just waiting, without doing anything to help our patients. Now we can do everything from here in our new laboratories and with the equipment provided by UNDP.”

“I want to thank UNDP for supporting us with the laboratories. Thanks to Global Fund we have now the equipment necessary to diagnose and identify the best treatment to cure diseases,” said Dr. Makur Koriom, Under Secretary for Ministry of Health.

UNDP has been the principal recipient of the Global Fund grants on behalf of the Government of South Sudan since 2004, managing in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Global Fund HIV, TB and Health Systems Strengthening grants for the country. Thanks to these grants, UNDP has helped to renovate the NTRL and the PCR laboratory (both part of the NPHL) and to upgrade them to Biosafety Level II (BSL II), install state-of-the-art lab equipment, maintain lab equipment, train lab staff, pay staff salaries and procure lab reagents and consumables. The NBTS has been also equipped by UNDP, who has also maintained the lab equipment, provided lab reagents and consumables, as well as paid staff salaries.

“We are building this nation and I was so impressed by the work the doctors and the technicians are doing here. For what I just saw they are doing a great job which will take our country to another level in terms of health services,” declared Dr. Riek Gai Kok, Minister of Health.

During the ceremony for laying the foundation stone for the Emergency Operation, the Vice President highlighted the importance of the Ministry of Health’s work and its partners’ support to make the NPHL a reality. 

“I want to congratulate our Ministry of Health for its efforts to open this center and make this a success. Also, I want to congratulate our partners and thanks them for their support to develop this center. Even a blind man can see that what have been done here is huge,” said H.E James Wani Igga.

Meanwhile, Hon. Deng Deng Hoc Yai, Minister of Education and Instruction, set the improvement of the center as an example of the right way to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Any instrument which provides the right to life is a good instrument. We need to double our effort to try to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]. What we have seen here today will contribute to that,” he said.

At the event, UNDP country director, Jean Luc Stalon, confirmed UNDP’s commitment to keep working to help to improve the health system in South Sudan. “We are very pleased to be part of this historical event and congratulate the Ministry of Health and partners for this great achievement. We will continue to strengthen our partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan”, he concluded.

UNDP also provides electricity to the 2 facilities, the NPHL and the NBTS, having procured large generators and a transformer to connect to city electricity, as well as provides fuel and maintains the generators.

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