Home | News    Thursday 7 June 2012

South Sudan has fourth highest infant mortality rate in Africa


June 6, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan has the fourth highest infant mortality rate in Africa according to a report published by the African Development Banks last month.

Reacting to the banks Africa Development Report, which included South Sudan for the first time, Health Minister Michael Milly Hussein said his ministry was sparing no efforts to improve basic health services but was quick to point out that the country is “being caught up” between competing priorities.

Loosing 98% of government revenue, when South Sudan shutdown oil production due to a transit fee argument with Khartoum has meant that services in health and other areas are having to be cut back.

Despite this period of austerity minister said a lot of efforts were being exerted to "improve basic health services" in collaboration with development partners.

"We are currently sending out health workers to various places in the ten states to conduct assessment on areas of priorities, such that we are able to know what and when to do it as first thing”, Hussein said in an interview with reporters on Wednesday.

The Health Minister said international health workers from different countries have been deployed across South Sudan to help provide services and share expertise.

“There are currently nurses and people with midwifery skills deployed to different places. Most of them came from the neigbouring countries through support of the United Nations Population Fund and other health partners. We are also getting technical assistance from other partner with UNICEF and World Health Organisation being some of our leading partners”, explained Hussein.

Minister Hussein attributed the cause to high prevalence of preventable diseases in the rural areas due to a shortage in trained health personnel to raise public awareness about importance of “best practices” particularly health education, resulting into the rise of what he categorised as cases of diarrhea cases, cholera, typhoid and Malaria.

The African Development Report published in May named Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Equatoria and Warrap as some of the South Sudan’s worst states for infant mortality.

“One of every 1,000 live births, 151 die before completing one year after birth in Western Equatoria, 139 in Warrap State and 129 in Northern Bahr el Ghazal. This is higher than the worst performance recorded on the continent, particularly in the African countries of Sierra Leone, Congo and Central Africa Republic”, the report says.

The report further indicated that one third of children in the newly born nation suffer from malnutrition, while 47% of the population remains undernourished.

Solomon Angui Mayuot, a newly appointed minister of health in Warrap State also attributed the high rate of death in children under five to prevalence of high malaria case in the rural areas. He also mentioned lack of equipments to help diagnose preventable and curable diseases. Other causes, according to Mayuot, include shortfall in trained health workers to run existing health facilities, essential medical supplies and public awareness.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, according to the report, has been ranked the tpoorest state in the whole country, with three quarters of the population living below the poverty line. Unity State, is South Sudan’s second poorest state with two thirds of the population classified as poor.

A United Nations report in May estimated that half of the entire population of the new nation as food insecure, indicating that food intake had fallen below minimum required in 2009. It identified Western Bahr el Ghazal as a state with worst performance in food production, resulting into almost three quarters of the population taking less than the required calories a day.

“In South Sudan two decades of conflict have severely suppressed agriculture development”, the report notes, adding, “At independence in 2011, total livestock production was estimated at a fifth of potential and fish at tenth production”.

The report which relied on the national statistics notes that 78% of the population of the newest nation depends entirely on farming for their livelihood but attributed the cause in low food production to threats it identified as irregularities in rainfalls in most of the areas, mainly in the states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, Unity, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and parts of Jonglei where violence and insecurity have played negative impact on farming activities.

Other difficulties which the report identified includes lack of agriculture extension services, adaptation of the local population to modern agricultural techniques as well as difficulties in acquiring seeds and fertilizers, weak physical infrastructure and high transportation costs. Additional factors included trade restrictions between South Sudan and neighbouring Sudan, impacting negatively on dependency on international trade and food prices and the threat of conflict.


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  • 7 June 2012 07:32, by mayom maboung marek

    ’’that the country is “being caught up” between competing priorities’’ said Health Minister. well,the shut down of oil has shown things which were not suppose to be known like lost of 4 billions, our going was smooth before shut down of oil. let us be content our resources not to make financial indiscipline again.

    repondre message

    • 7 June 2012 08:08, by zulu

      Yeah. Oil shut down has caused so many bad things just as khartoum has predicted. we will still keep it shut and let it go to worst so that UN, world bank and those agencies with negative remarks can leave and we deal with this stupid NCP without any one telling us to withdraw.

      repondre message

      • 7 June 2012 08:24, by Northern Sudanese


        what you mean with withdraw? so your planning to invade khartoum innorder to let your oil go through lol :D hahahahahaha good luck with that dream XD

        repondre message

        • 7 June 2012 17:10, by zulu

          North Sudanes,
          The intention to invade khartoum is not in our agenda, but it is an easy thing because we have marshalls trained for that should anything go awry. neither do we have the intention to flow oil without guarantees through your country. our problem is the regime change agenda to make sudan a freindlier neighbor to benefit both sides without stalemate

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    • 7 June 2012 09:58, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      Let the oil still remain like that,if you have open it even no benefit,since it will be stolen by the Arabs,suffering is for every countries,you will suffered today tomorrow you will be Ok,since we has the resources under ground.


      repondre message

  • 8 June 2012 08:51, by Tata

    Hon. Minister,
    National health services can’t be carried out like relief work during emergency. You need to establish, equip and strengthen epidemiological departments in states inorder to have clear picture of diseases prevalence in South Sudan. This touristic visits to states serve nothing except per diems and exhaustion of the budget to claim efficiency and more money thereof. Those foreingers

    repondre message

    • 8 June 2012 09:00, by Tata

      will acheive nothing therefore secure continuity of their jobs. We have medical personnel serving with NGOs and UN agencies. Can you call them back and give them good packages that they can serve their people? For the last 7 years should the GoSS/MoH cares we could have 1st batch of MBBS graduands and 4th batch of graduands of 3-year medical training Institutes, to serve this country.

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