Partners advocate for better public health programs in South Sudan

Unveiling the fellowship program in Juba on Friday

By Simon Deng

Partners are demanding South Sudan to increase interventions in the health sector, increasing capacity of the workforce and improve services.

There is need for government input through establishment of good public health programs and enhancement of workforce development in the sector, Sudhir Bunga, the country representative for the Center for Disease Control, said at a launch of a fellowship program in Juba.

 “A healthy country is equal to a healthy population, and a healthy population is a function of the government of South Sudan,” Bunga said.

“The ministry of health and a good ministry of health needs good public health programs, health systems, governance, leadership and outcomes,” he said.

South Sudan has a dilapidated health system inherited from Sudan at independence. Decades of war meant many institutions including the health sector were destroyed.

A crisis which broke out in 2013 further worsened the situation, leaving the health services solely in the hands of nongovernmental organisations and foreign partners.

In-service training and mentorship is so critical, Bunga said, noting that the fellowship programs of leadership and data management are extremely important.

Victoria Anib Majur, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health said the country’s public health institute has developed a strategic plan and is working towards a legal framework.

 “The two fellowship programs are in line with the agenda of the Ministry of Health which is capacity building,” Majur said.

Angok Gordon, the interim Chairman of South Sudan Public Health Institute described the establishment of the fellowship program as a major milestone, adding that capacity building is critical to the development of workforce in the country.

“We realized issues of leadership and data management are quite a challenge in this field,” Gordon said.

“This is a milestone towards achieving workforce development in the country,” he said.

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