WHO Southern Sudan: Health update Sep - Oct 2008


Government of Southern Sudan Health Assembly

The second Government of Southern Sudan Health Assembly (GoSSHA2) was held in Juba from October 26 to 29, 2008. This assembly is an annual forum organized by the MoH/GoSS, in partnership with stake holders in the health sector to review the state of health care and service delivery. This year's theme was "Building Effective Health System in Southern Sudan". All the participating agencies and individuals had an opportunity to present their experiences and useful lessons learnt through exhibitions, and exchange of ideas at informal forums. WHO worked with the MoH and other members of the GOSSHA Steering Committee in all aspects of the preparations for the Assembly, including programming and logistics. WHO provided technical support to each of the ten Southern Sudan States in the preparation of the situation analysis and presentations for the Health Assembly. The Assembly was conducted in a very lively and cordial atmosphere and consisted of presentations, plenary discussions and small group discussions. It was officially opened by the president of the government of Southern Sudan, H.E General Salva Kiir Mayardit. During his speech he stressed his government commitment to provide effective health services to the people of Southern Sudan. "Health is the cornerstone of our development, prosperity and wealth creation," said President Kiir to an audience comprised of doctors, nurses, traditional birth attendants, community health workers, medical assistants and delegates from international medical organizations.

H.E Kiir said that the Government of Southern Sudan recognizes health as a "fundamental human right," adding that "it is both moral and constitutional obligation upon all of us to ensure that our people have access to health services when they need such services." He stressed establishing effective health institutions, moving health services closer to people, role of private sector in health services delivery, creating highly motivated and trained health personnel as some of the best ways to build effective health systems in South Sudan.

In conclusion key recommendations towards the improvement of Health systems were made and it was unanimously agreed that strong and decentralized health systems are essential as a means towards achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals, according to household survey Southern Sudan has the worst maternal and child mortality rates in the world.