HEALTHCARE NEEDS IN SOUTH SUDAN
After decades of civil war between the North and South of Sudan the South remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Infrastructure has not been able to develop and in health the indicators suggest outcomes to be among the worst in the world. Only 44% of the population in South Sudan have access to any form of healthcare within 5 km and inoculation rates for children are around 18%. Maternal mortality is the highest in the world at 2,054 per 100,000 (nearly 3%). Since women have an average of 6-7 births per woman, this means that approximately 20% of women die as a result of childbirth. Mortality rates for children under 5 years are 135,000 per 1,000.
Although material and equipment for the provision of healthcare is very limited, it is the absolute lack of skilled healthcare staff that is the most crucial issue. There are needs for training in virtually all areas, particularly emergency obstetrics in primary care, midwifery, nursing, and medicine, integrating nutrition more fully into secondary healthcare. Unless ongoing education and training is developed and supported, it is difficult to see how the health service in South Sudan can progress.
In 2005 a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed that gave South Sudan semi-autonomy leading to the independence of the Republic of South Sudan in July 2011. Despite many continuing problems this has created the opportunity for self-determination and with the help and support of the international community the prospect of real development. The Republic of South Sudan is officially English speaking, has a strong Christian influence and welcomes British support.
The St Mary’s Hospital,Isle of Wight-Juba Teaching Hospital Link
In October 2007, Juba Teaching Hospital (JTH) was twinned with St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight (also known as the Juba Link) and gained charitable status in April 2008. The link was set up with the following aim:-
“To promote understanding of the needs and to support the Government of Southern Sudan, in order to improve clinical services through the development of education and training.”
Following a successful fact-finding visit in March 2008 the Link has undertaken a number of activities including 6 multi-professional training visits, examining of undergraduate medical students, attendance at conferences and extensive discussions with senior doctors and Ministers. We were instrumental, together with the Real Medicine Foundations in California and the World Children’s Fund, in the setting up of a School of Nursing and Midwifery at Juba Teaching Hospital and are currently working with other health links to develop a sustainable Postgraduate Medical Training Programme for doctors. The programme was kickstarted by 2 weeks training in trauma and 2 weeks in mental health in October 2013. Due to the civil unrest no further visits have been made since then but hopefully will restart shortly as Juba, at least, seems calm. The Link has raised funds and built a 6 bedded bungalow in the grounds of Juba Teaching Hospital to accommodate future visiting trainers. (see separate information)
The Link firmly believes that a sustainable health service in South Sudan can only be developed through the training of local professionals who are able to provide services at a district level , are able to provide leadership and able to train others. In this, we are supported by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and there is evidence that we are making some progress, albeit slow.
The Link is entirely dependent upon charitable donations and your support is most welcome. It makes a big difference.
“The healthcare situation in South Sudan is dire and your support will help to make a
very important contribution at this critical time”
Quote from Baroness Cox of Queensbury – Patron to the St Mary’s Hospital,Isle of Wight-Juba Teaching Hospital Link
To view a short film on the Link visit to Juba in 2009 to undertake a training and service commitment in the operation of vesico-vaginal fistula surgery please click on the following link :