South Sudan: Our Impact

Dr. Eliud Wandwalo. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

MSH works with international, national, and local partners to strengthen the capacity of health systems, national tuberculosis (TB) programs, and health managers to improve the lives of those affected by TB and prevent the spread of the disease. MSH participates in several global TB initiatives, including USAID’s Tuberculosis CARE I Program (following the TB CAP program); the STOP TB Partnership; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Community pastor in Mvolo County. {Photo credit: E. Polich/MSH.}Photo credit: E. Polich/MSH.

In South Sudan, HIV prevalence hovers at an estimated 3%,[1] which is significantly lower than neighboring countries like Kenya (6.3%), Uganda (6.5%), and the Central African Republic (4.7%).[2, 3] Despite this lower prevalence, the world’s newest country teeters on a precipice where HIV is concerned.

Health care staff at Gurei Primary Health Care Center provide patients with drugs after attending their first Leadership Development Program (LDP) session. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Two years ago, the Gurei Primary Health Care Center (PHCC) in Juba, South Sudan was facing a number of operational challenges. In addition to needing a cold storage area for vaccinations, PHCC also had an insufficient number of trained vaccinators and morale was low among the available staff. Within the community they served, PHCC encountered many negative attitudes and incorrect ideas about vaccinations. Residents who brought their children to PHCC for care found that the needed vaccinations were only sporadically available. As a result, the number of children immunized in Juba remained low.

Celebrating Independence Day in South Sudan. {Photo credit: Erin Polich/MSH.}Photo credit: Erin Polich/MSH.

South Sudan is strengthening their health system, despite the challenges of being the newest country in the world.The World Health Organization (WHO) says that, “A health system consists of all the organizations, institutions, resources and people whose primary purpose is to improve health.” In South Sudan, MSH leads the USAID-funded Sudan Health Transformation Project, phase two (SHTP II), which works with the national Ministry of Health, county health departments, local organizations, and communities to transition the primary health care system from relief to development.SHTP II

Women and children gather in Tambura, South Sudan. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Women throughout the world face a stacked deck when it comes to health. They bear and raise children, perform taxing housework, and often take primary responsibility for cultivation and harvesting – all of which make them vulnerable to health complications. But they are usually not the primary decision makers in the household, even when it comes to their own health.

Dr. Catherine Mundy.Dr. Catherine Mundy.

Laboratory services are a necessary but sometimes neglected element of a strong health system. From disease control and surveillance to patient diagnosis and care, laboratories are central to public health. Where laboratory services, policies or strategy are lacking, a comprehensive systems approach can improve a nation's infrastructure and capacity to manage and finance laboratory systems.MSH spoke with Dr.

The Sudan Health Transformation Project (SHTP II), led by MSH and funded by USAID, partners with the government of South Sudan to transition health service delivery from emergency response to a more sustainable health system. Several months after the project began, its implementing partners realized that gender issues were affecting its progress in expanding access to health services and reducing maternal morbidity. To remedy the problem, they gathered data on gender from project reports and discussed strategies for addressing gender inequity in the project area.

Media Advisory Media Contact:Carol Miller, Management Sciences for Health   cmiller@msh.orgPress Teleconference: Challenges and Successes of Building Strong Health Systems in Fragile States   What’s working in South Sudan, Afghanistan and HaitiWednesday, June 8, 2011; 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The April 2011 issue of Monday Developments Magazine includes an article written by Mary K. Burket, Communications Manager at Management Sciences for Health, entitled, "A Health System in Transition."The author examines the complexity of addressing immediate relief needs while rebuilding a better health system in South Sudan. "Southern Sudan is standing on the brink.

In a May 7, 2010, address to the Lologo community—following a tour of the MSH-supported Lologo Public Health Care Centre (PHCC) in Southern Sudan—Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) stated that USAID is interested in supporting initiatives like Lologo where the community is constantly engaged with the health center and the general welfare of its members.