JUBA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) – The World Health
Organization (WHO) on Tuesday commended South Sudan’s improved health care
system and preparedness to prevent and respond to the outbreak of infectious
diseases and epidemics.
The WHO also hailed the country’s positive
efforts in reducing maternal deaths.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for
Africa, said South Sudan’ health sector is slowly strengthening with positive
tangible results despite being disrupted by over four years of conflict.
It cited reduction in child and maternal
deaths from 2,500 per 100,000 live births to as low as 700 deaths per 100,000
“The country started off at independence
with some of the lowest capacities in health. The maternal mortality was one of
the highest levels of maternal deaths in the world,” she told journalists
in Juba after concluding her four-day visit to the country.
South Sudan also on Monday inaugurated its
first ever state-of-the-art Public Health Emergency Operations Centre to
monitor and combat major diseases and help mitigate humanitarian crises.
Moete disclosed that WHO is interested in
supporting the country in laying the basis for a health system that will grow
in strength and capacity to deliver health care.
Riek Gai Kok, the South Sudan Minister of
Health, said the WHO has already supported with medical experts drawn from the
region to help strengthen the preparedness and capacity building in preventing
and combating Ebola Virus.
Kok said South Sudanese health officials will
benefit by learning and acquiring skills from these medical experts from the
region which will help in sustaining the PHEOC.
“For the first time we can now collect
samples and come out with the results within 6 hours,” he said.
The WHO also donated four ambulances to South
Sudan to help in emergency situations around the capital in addition to
donating some US$50,000 to address some of the immediate health
South Sudan in 2013 experienced a cholera
outbreak that killed over 260 people.
Other diseases like hepatitis, meningitis and
measles are still menacing people there.
South Sudan has suffered from a civil war
since December 2013, which led to the displacement of more than 4 million