Speech by UNDP Country Director, Balázs Horváth, Handover of Laboratory at the Bor State Hospital, Bor, Jonglei

May 8, 2013

- Your Excellency, General Kuol Manyang Juuk, Governor of Jonglei State,
- Honourable Justice Attilio Fuad Zolein,
Honourable Jehan Mechek, Minister of Health
Honourable State Ministers,
Representatives of the international development community,
Members of the community, Ladies and gentlemen.


It is my pleasure and honour to be addressing you today on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme South Sudan. 


Let me start with the obvious; health and human development are critical for development. 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. 


Many of you have heard the alarming statistics: South Sudan has the highest Maternal Mortality rate in the world; South Sudan ranks as one of the lowest for infant mortality; and a 15-year old girl has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than of completing secondary school. 


Let me now turn to the good news: in just a few short years, the Government has made marked progress in vaccinating children, markedly improving the infant mortality rate, and expanding health services. 


As Principal Recipient of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, UNDP has supported the Ministry of Health in constructing much-needed infrastructure. Examples include South Sudan’s first blood bank; the College of Nursing and Midwifery; training for healthcare professionals; and developing national strategies to address HIV/AIDS.

With funding from the Global Fund, UNDP has worked with implementing partners to provide HIV treatment services to more than 5,000 patients through 22 sites across the ten states, including the hospital here in Bor. UNDP also supported the national Ministry of Health to expand tuberculosis screening and preventative TB care, while training clinical staff and laboratory technicians to monitor and evaluate TB control programmes in all ten states, including Jonglei. 


Today we are handing over a new laboratory at the Bor State Hospital. It will expand diagnostic services to thousands of patients who otherwise did not have access to this technology. These capabilities will enable doctors to detect and treat preventable conditions and thereby save lives. 


Ladies and Gentlemen, the key to sustained impact from this laboratory is what happens after the handover. The provision of funds for running costs, proper maintenance and management of this laboratory is critical. It is up to the Health Ministry and the community collectively to ensure that this lab is maintained and functioning in the coming years. 


UNDP is dedicated to supporting the Government’s efforts to improve health and human development here in Jonglei state. Today’s initiative is just one of the many things we do in Jonglei.  UNDP deployed 15 specialists in Jonglei’s Ministries of Education, Finance, Labour, Law Enforcement, Local Government, and here in the state hospital to mentor and train South Sudanese Civil Servants while supporting the state in financial planning, information technology, engineering and delivering needed medical services. 


UNDP will continue to focus on empowering communities and reinforcing health and human development, as we support the Government in the implementation of the South Sudan Development Plan and the Jonglei State Strategic Plan. We at UNDP are proud of the partnership we have with the State and County Governments and we congratulate you on the opening of this laboratory.


In closing, I would like to applaud the strong leadership of the national and state Ministries of Health that was evident throughout the project. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the Global Fund for their support in making this project a reality. 


And finally, to all members of the community, we stand by you in building a peaceful, democratic, just and prosperous South Sudan.


Thank you very much.