3 August 2021, Juba - As part of its efforts to ensure the delivery and utilization of stronger and more resilient primary health care and essential health services during the COVID-19 response and recovery, the World Health Organization (WHO) with support from the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) is to support strengthening key health systems levels for primary health care and continuity of essential health services within the context of COVID-19 response.
The project focuses on an equity-oriented, gender responsive and human rights-based approach, to reach more disadvantaged populations who are at risk of being left behind. It is implemented under the leadership of the WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care through the Universal Health Coverage Partnership network—one of WHO’s largest platforms for international cooperation on universal health coverage and primary health care. This effort aims to respond to the needs and gaps identified by countries and supports the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, highlighting the urgency of maintaining essential health services and systems.
In March 2021, WHO and the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development signed a grant agreement in the amount of 30.38 million Canadian dollars to support 10 countries including South Sudan in delivering stronger and more resilient primary health care and essential health services during the COVID-19 response and recovery.
“We appreciate this contribution of the Canadian Government. The Ministry of Health, COVID-19 Incident Management Team will work closely with WHO and partners to ensure the successful implementation of the project”, said Dr John Rumunu, Director General for Preventive Health Services, Ministry of Health South Sudan.
“Canada is committed to ensuring the people of South Sudan have access to quality health services. Through this partnership with WHO, people who are most in need, and whose health situations have been exacerbated by the pandemic—particularly women and girls—will have access to the essential health and nutrition services, including medicines, that they require”, said H.E. Jenny Hill, Ambassador for Canada to South Sudan.
“The implementation of the Government of Canada project will contribute to strengthening essential healthcare services and greatly improve health systems to ensure that a clear path is established towards attainment of universal health coverage (UHC), health security and other health-related Sustainable Development Goals”, said Dr Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative a.i. in South Sudan. “WHO is committed to working hand in hand with South Sudan’s Ministry of Health to ensure that more people can access good quality health services when they need it, without causing them to experience financial hardship, which is the core vision of UHC”.
The Government of Canada is one of WHO’s key partners working together in South Sudan. The partnership goes back a decade, starting in 2011. In 20211, the Canadian Government provided 19.4 million Canadian Dollars to WHO for its six-year Comprehensive Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care project.
“Thanks to our working together these last 10 years the project that comprises of infrastructure, equipment’s and training of health personnel has saved the lives of many mothers and children across the country,” said Dr Ndenzako.
Bridging global commitments with national priorities
Canada’s contribution also enhances collaboration among the 13 multilateral health, development and humanitarian agencies working together under the frame of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All (SDG3-GAP) to better support countries in accelerating progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Primary Health Care Accelerator is among the seven accelerator areas under the Global Action Plan and through this, South Sudan is receiving intensified support for primary health care.
A contribution to the Joint Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction also complements this work by undertaking formative research to identify and analyze specific innovations and modifications made by countries to ensure continued access to and delivery of health services. More about Canada’s funding support to WHO is available in the WHO Programme Budget Portal.
Dr Moses Ongom, Email: email@example.com