Health in Southern Sudan – Your Questions Answered
Election officials have announced that 99 percent voted for independence in Southern Sudan.
AMREF has a long history of working in the region and decided we wanted to answer some of your questions about health care, our work and the current situation in what will be Africa’s newest nation.
See more photos of our work in Southern Sudan in our photo album.
How many people live in Southern Sudan?
Southern Sudan is home to approximately 10 million people, although this number is growing daily. Since October 2010 more than 180,000 people who have been living in the North have returned back home. Over the next couple of months this number is expected to at least double.
What is healthcare like in Southern Sudan?
Southern Sudan is home to some of the lowest health indicators in the world; 21 years of civil war destroyed most infrastructure in the region. For example, the maternal death rate is one of the highest globally – 1 out of every 50 pregnant women will die due to labour or pregnancy related complications, in Canada only 1 in 11,000 women die while giving birth.
There are only 1,327 health facilities in all of Southern Sudan. Fourty-one per cent of these require minor or major upgrades and an additional 23 per cent need to be replaced entirely.
Access to the most basic health care is extremely low - only 44 per cent of people are able to reach a health facility, 55 per cent have access to improved drinking water and only 6 per cent have access to sanitation facilities.
How many healthcare workers are there?
The lack of trained health care workers in Southern Sudan is staggering. There are fewer than 100 doctors for the entire country of 10 million, resulting in 1 doctor for every 100,000 people. In Canada there is 1 doctor for every 500 people.
What impact is the recent influx of people having on healthcare?
The massive influx of people who have returned over the last few months will have a huge impact on Southern Sudan. The majority of returnees have nowhere to live and few resources. Most of the returnees are being placed in refugee camps. They all require food, water, basic health services, sanitation facilities, and access to transport and security. Ensuring the returnees have the bare essentials to survive and eventually begin rebuilding their lives is an overwhelming task for most countries, but it is especially daunting for a region with such limited infrastructure and resources.
What does AMREF do in Southern Sudan?
AMREF’s work in Southern Sudan dates back to the early 1970s. AMREF was a leader in helping to create Southern Sudan’s first ever health policy and continued working in the region during the two decades of civil war. One of AMREF’s main priorities has been training health care workers including community health care workers, clinical officers and nurses at three national training institutes in Lui, Maridi and Juba.
AMREF also works closely with communities providing health education, supporting maternal and newborn health and increasing access to water and sanitation. Through these initiatives AMREF’s health services help more than 500,000 people in Southern Sudan.
How is AMREF helping the women, children and men who have recently returned to Southern Sudan?
AMREF, in collaboration with our UN and NGO colleagues, is working to address the returnees’ urgent needs ensuring people have access to health services, clean water and sanitation. AMREF is a member of the United Nations’ humanitarian water, sanitation and health committees. Our priorities include;
- Nutrition - Screening and treating malnutrition as well as training health workers on emergency nutrition
- Emergency Health - Immunizing mothers and children against deadly diseases, coordinating surgical outreach trips, providing laboratory services to investigate, and control disease outbreaks, providing community health education, ensuring people living with HIV and TB have access to the medications they need to survive
- Trauma- counseling and therapeutic support for victims of gender based violence, sexual abuse and rape
What can I do?
Read more about our work in Southern Sudan