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World Bank provides $200 million to strengthen health system in South Sudan

By Simon Deng

The World Bank on Friday approved 200 million U.S dollars to help support South Sudan’s health care system to respond to COVID-19 pandemic.

“This additional financing will help the government of South Sudan address challenges in both the procurement, and deployment of vaccines by supporting the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines for 30 percent of the total population,” said Firas Raad, World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan in a statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

Raad disclosed that the grant extended through its development arm, International Development Association (IDA) will also address the urgent health and nutrition needs of refugees and host communities along with populations affected by the flooding in several states.

In January 2022, the World Bank already provided 100 million dollars to help flood victims in the northern parts of the country.

It recently provided 120 million dollars in early March this year, to support infrastructure development in the country.

The latest assistance aims at strengthening health service delivery, and expand service provision to vulnerable groups particularly, in Upper Nile state, Jonglei state, Greater Pibor Administrative Area and Ruweng Administrative Area.

It noted that South Sudan has been struggling with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the low vaccination rates across the country, due to existing deployment constraints, vaccine hesitancy, and a lack of access to other vaccine sources beyond COVAX.

“Furthermore, the unprecedented floods in 2021 and 2022 have hampered vaccine deployment efforts, increasing risks of social exclusion particularly of those living in remote, conflict, and flood-affected areas,” it disclosed.

It observed that by strengthening South Sudan’s disease surveillance systems, and laboratory capacity, the project will also contribute to improving health systems and emergency preparedness at the national and subnational levels.

Victoria Anib Majur, Undersecretary for South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, hailed the support from the World Bank, saying it will ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

 “The additional financing will play a critical role in ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for the entire population, but particularly vulnerable and geographically disadvantaged communities that include refugees and their host communities,” she said.

Adding that these extra resources will also enable the country to strengthen its health system preparedness, and help address the urgent health, and nutrition needs in the 10 states and three administrative areas of the country.

The South Sudan COVID-19 emergency response and health systems preparedness project financed by the World Bank, has been supporting the country to prevent, detect, and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 since it’s launch in June 2021.

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