Juba, 8 October 2021 – The South Sudan Ministry of Health supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a five-day health risk profiling workshop in Juba to assess and analyze public health risks for effective planning and prioritization of health emergencies and disasters risk management activities.
The ever-present and increasing threat of emergencies with health consequences requires that countries use evidence-based approaches to identify, analyze and prioritize health risks to prevent, mitigate, and control potential harm. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for all countries to invest in analyzing and understanding health risks, strengthening whole-of-society institutional capacities to manage the health risks, and investing in risk prevention, mitigation, and control interventions.
South Sudan has in the recent years braced numerous emergencies with health consequences including the protracted complex humanitarian crisis with severe food insecurity, floods, and disease outbreaks like COVID-19, cholera, measles, hepatitis E, yellow fever, rift valley fever, and circulating vaccine derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2). Optimal preparedness and response readiness to these emergencies thus requires profiling and analyzing of risks associated with each of the hazards for evidence-based prioritization and resource allocation to prevent, mitigate, and control the health risks for enhanced health security.
“The Ministry of Health will continue to engage and collaborate with other Government sectors and partners to effectively prevent and control the public health emergencies, epidemics, and pandemics”, said Dr Kediende Chong, Director General International Health and Coordination at the Ministry of Health. “The current COVID-19 pandemic is a sobering reminder for South Sudan to optimize resources invested in health and other social services sectors to enhance country resilience, reduce vulnerabilities and strengthen national emergency preparedness and response capacities.”
In terms of outcomes, the South Sudan health risk profiling workshop identified five very high risk hazards, six high risk hazards, and three hazards of moderate risk that have been prioritized for multihazard emergency response and contingency planning. A risk calendar for priority hazards has also been updated to ensure timely preparedness, contingency planning, and optimization of response readiness.
The International Health Regulations (IHR (2005), mandate WHO to support member states to build and maintain national capacities for surveillance and emergency preparedness and response.
Health risk profiling facilitates evidence based risk-based hazard profiling, prioritization, and control. Dr Fabian Ndenzako, the WHO Representative a.i. for South Sudan, reiterated WHO’s commitment to fulfil its obligations towards supporting multisectoral engagements for effective national emergency preparedness and optimal response readiness. Dr Fabian acknowledged the Federal Germany Government for supporting the South Sudan health risk profiling workshop.
The other participating sectors and partners included the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Wildlife, and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In December 2020, South Sudan launched the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), as the overarching framework of national priorities for enhancing health security. The implementation of regular multisectoral risk assessments and development of the national multi-hazard response plan are core priority actions in the NAPHS.
Notes to editors:
The IHR (2005) came into force on 15 June 2007 and is legally binding for the 196 WHO member states that are mandated under the regulations to establish and maintain capacities to detect, assess, and respond to all public health events and report them to the WHO. In the World Health Organization African region, the implementation of the integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) strategy by member states provides a framework for strengthening the surveillance, response, and laboratory core capacities required by IHR (2005).