Sunday, June 16, 2024

World Health Organization (WHO) transforming lives through health: Experiences from Eastern Equatorial State of South Sudan


In the remote district of Kapoeta East County, Eastern Equatoria State, life is a daily struggle for its 376 224 residents. This county, which borders Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, faces severe health challenges due to harsh climatic conditions and food insecurity, including drought and seasonal flooding that hinder transportation and access to essential services.

The health system in Kapoeta East is grappling with numerous challenges. Only half of its 24 health facilities are fully operational, leaving the other half-crippled by a lack of support. Healthcare workers are scarce, medications frequently run out, and many residents live far from the nearest health facility. Cultural practices like early child marriages further complicate the health landscape.

WHO’s targeted health interventions

To address these challenges, the World Health Organization (WHO), with funding from the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF), has been working with the Ministry of Health and local health authorities to initiate a series of interventions to save the lives of the community in Kapoeta East County.

WHO delivered and distributed medical supplies and drugs, including the Interagency Emergency Health Kits, to support health facilities and mobile outreach services.

In addition, WHO has established three mobile medical clinics to reach the most isolated communities. These clinics provide critical health services, including maternal and child health services, immunizations, and treatment for common illnesses. Overseen by a dedicated WHO Public Health officer, they have become a lifeline for the community.

WHO’s efforts extend beyond immediate medical care. The team trained 60 healthcare workers on integrated community health case management and disease surveillance to enhance, promote, and deliver basic and effective primary healthcare services to the community and ensure that local health needs are met with skilled health workers.

Additionally, 40 health workers received specialized training in Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) offering effective maternal and newborn care from different healthcare facilities in Kapoeta East.

WHO has also focused on addressing gender-based violence (GBV), training 68 healthcare workers in GBV awareness and clinical management of rape. This initiative has empowered local communities to support survivors and promote timely reporting and treatment.

During a monitoring visit to Naliel Boma, Mr Nakali Lochumpa, the County Health Director of Kapoeta East, underscored the profound impact of the mobile clinics, stating, “Thanks to WHO’s support, the mobile clinic is surpassing Primary Health Care Centers inpatient turnout, enabling us to reach many children with vital vaccinations.”

Dr Humphrey Karamagi, WHO Representative for South Sudan, said, “Thanks to the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund, despite difficult circumstances, our targeted health interventions and the combined efforts of WHO, the Ministry of Health, and other partners have been crucial in saving lives and bringing positive change, leading to improved health outcomes.”

The impact of these efforts is already evident. Over 5000 individuals have benefited from WHO’s medical support, and more than 1400 were reached by the end of 2023. Despite some challenges, the medical services have made a significant impact on the community.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – South Sudan.

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