South Sudan is now entering its fourth decade of conflict. The First and Second Sudanese Civil Wars (between North and South Sudan) spanned most of the last 50 years, and the latter claimed nearly two million lives and left four million others homeless. Following a referendum on secession from the North, South Sudan became an independent nation on 9th July 2011.
Disputes still remain with Sudan on distribution of oil revenues and conflicts are still ongoing in Abeyi and the Nuba Mountains. Thousands of South Sudanese citizens resident in the north have been forcibly expelled back to South Sudan, placing a great strain on the young countries fragile infrastructure. Whilst South Sudan has made great strides in the past five years, it remains one of the least developed regions in the world.
International Medical Corps began implementing programmes in South Sudan more than 17 years ago, at the height of the civil war. Early programmes focused on the delivery of primary and secondary health services as well as some unique programmes that focused on reduction of River Blindness (Onchocerciasis), Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis), and other Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Currently, International Medical Corps works in rural and urban areas in South Sudan, focusing on improving immediate and long-term health service provision. Health services are provided through more than 50 primary and secondary health facilities that International Medical Corps supports in nine counties across four states on both sides of the Nile River. Through these and other structures, International Medical Corps serves more than 878,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable populations through a fully integrated package of public health services that include primary health care (including maternal and child health), HIV/AIDS, nutrition, Water/Sanitation, secondary health care and capacity building programmes.
Currently, we support Akobo County Hospital located in a volatile area near the eastern border with Ethiopia. International Medical Corps is providing critical health care services for the population including emergency health services for those wounded by ongoing outbreaks of tribal violence.
International Medical Corps has also provided HIV awareness, prevention, VCT, and PMTCT in Jonglei and Upper Nile States. The populations in these states have been subjected to high levels of violence and displacement in the past two years, increasing their vulnerability to exposure and infection.
The Government of South Sudan and the Ministry of Health (MoH) have made great strides since the end of the civil war. Unfortunately, without sufficient numbers of qualified staff and resources, it is not possible for the MoH to adequately provide for the health needs of the South Sudanese.
With support from our partners and donors, International Medical Corps established and continues to support the National Health Training Institute (NHTI) in Kajo Keji, Central Equatoria State. In order to increase the number of mid-level health professionals, the NHTI offered training programmes for students in community midwifery. Several classes of midwifery students have graduated from these programmes and are now adding to the nation’s nursing capacity.
After several years of technical support and expansion of the Kajo Keji Civil Hospital, International Medical Corps was able to transition hospital management to the Central Equatoria State Ministry of Health. The facility was renamed Kajo Keji State Hospital and now serves the area’s 200,000 residents under the guidance of a government-appointed administrator.
International Medical Corps UK recognises the invaluable support of the following European donors to make our work possible.