On 7 April WHO marked World Health Day with a donation of 10 ambulances, two vehicles, three motorcycles and 288 bicycles to the Ministry of Health in South Sudan to strengthen health services and enhance disease surveillance.
The donation is in line with WHO’s commitment to support the response to the humanitarian situation in South Sudan by strengthening health systems through technical and material support.
The ambulances are part of a consignment of 12, two of which were given to the Ministry of Health for use in Pibor in February this year, while the rest were handed over to the Ministry of Health on World Health Day.
"We hope the ambulances will help to reduce delays by women in accessing emergency obstetric care, among other purposes," said Dr Tarande Manzila, WHO Representative to South Sudan.
It is anticipated that the ambulances will help to reduce delays by pregnant women to access emergency obstetric care, thereby contributing to the reduction of neonatal and maternal mortality. "Three delays" have been identified as major barriers to improving chances of survival during pregnancy and child birth. These are the delay in recognizing and seeking care when complications occur, delay in reaching a health facility and delay in receiving appropriate care within the health facility. The ambulances will therefore contribute to addressing the second delay.
In addition, WHO handed over two other vehicles, 288 bicycles and three motorcycles to the Ministry of Health. The assets will help with the surveillance of guinea worm disease (GWD) and onchocerciasis (river blindness), thereby contributing towards the elimination of both diseases in South Sudan.
"South Sudan has made much progress in reducing the number of guinea worm disease cases from 20 581 in 2006 to 70 in 2014. Eradication of the disease is going to be a big milestone in the history of mankind, hence it is our hope that this material support will contribute towards that milestone," Dr Manzila said.
One vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser double cabin and 75 bicycles are to support the Ministry of Health with surveillance for the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme (GWEP).
In line with the WHO African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)'s commitment to support the Ministry of Health and strengthen its capacity, WHO also handed over another Toyota Land Cruiser hard top, 113 bicycles and three motorcycles. These will be used for the onchocerciasis elimination and control projects in five endemic states of Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Western Bahr El Ghazal and Western Equatoria.
Dr Manzila reiterated WHO’s commitment to supporting the Ministry of Health in accordance with its mandate and vision to bring all the people of South Sudan to the highest level of health possible. Accepting the donation, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Makur Matur Kariom expressed gratitude to WHO for the continued support.
"This donation will contribute to improving the lives of people in South Sudan, especially the vulnerable. Within a few years we will see the results of the impact of this donation," he remarked, adding that the vehicles would be distributed to the various states.
For more information, please contact:
Matilda Moyo | Communications Consultant
WHO Surge Team
Juba, South Sudan
Mobile: +211 955 036 439