Juba – South Sudan has launched a four-year health plan to prevent, detect and respond to any public health threats and designed to build the health sector to efficiency in the country.
The 2020-2024 Health Security Plan launched in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to detect and prevent or manage health risks arising from natural disasters like floods, political instability, and diseases such as COVID-19, polio and measles.
The 85-pages National Action Plan for Health Security will cost about $70 millionover the five-year period of its implementation and it is expected to build the national capacity for resiliency.
Mayen Machut Achiek, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health, said they need more support in order to respond to major disease outbreaks and to establish a strong health system in the restive country.
“What we are embarking on today is risk management to prepare for infectious diseases that are imported across the borders,” said Achiek.
South Sudan has a health system structured with three tiers: Primary Health Care Units PHCU, Primary Health Care Centers PHCC and Hospitals which exist as either state, county, police or military.
The plan is anticipated to maintain a strategic partnership using one-health: all hazards, government and whole of society approach.
“These risks are natural disasters [such as] flooding, which is happening now, insecurity, political archival [which] cause much trauma,” Dr. Machut stated, adding that they want to mitigate risks of “outbreak of infectious diseases that are imported from across the borders.”
The country is also prone to diseases -with meningitis, measles, yellow fever, and whooping cough endemic in many areas.
This is coupled with malaria, river blindness, sleeping sickness, and cholera.
“Most of the time, we focus on humanitarian work. It is important to save lives. But importantly as well, we need to move from there and start to put in place, develop activities and develop intervention that will help this country to really move on,” said Olu.
He described the new National Action Plan for Health Security as a deliberate step “to build a system that can comprehensively respond to outbreaks — not only COVID-19 but several other outbreaks.”
“It is an opportunity for us to strengthen our system. Over time, we have responded to different [disease] outbreaks. It now gives us the opportunity to build a system that can comprehensively respond to outbreaks — not only COVID-19, but several other outbreaks,” said Olu.
Martin Elia Lomuro, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said the government is keen on improving the poor health infrastructure, human resources and level of preparedness to help respond to disease outbreaks.
Lomuro had also discouraging the practice of traveling abroad for medical treatment, saying there is no need for people to travel for minor procedures when the country has the medical expertise.
“Health security is a holistic approach. This is where we would like to stand with you. We want to encourage young people by leading this plan and by making sure we raise funds. We have taken our health seriously. COVID-19 has taught us lessons,” said Lomuro.
South Sudan, gained her independence in 2011 is currently battling more than six – years civil war, coronavirus pandemic, effects of flooding and polio.