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800,000 South Sudanese may face reduced access to life-saving primary health care: IOM

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May 4, 2021 (JUBA) - A non-governmental organisation says more than 800,000 people in South Sudan who rely on their health care may face reduced access to life-saving services by June if urgent calls for humanitarian funding are not met.

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IOM offers maternal care for mothers in Bentiu ( Photo IOM)

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in a statement issued Tuesday, said internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and conflict-affected populations already living in dire situations may soon face even greater danger to their lives and health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the onset of the rainy season and floods.

According to the agency, women and children, the elderly and people living with disabilities remains at risk of losing access to primary health-care services.

“In the past year, we have learned the hard way that when some people don’t have access to health services, everyone can be at risk,” said Jacqueline Weekers, Director of Migration Health for IOM.

“Health is not a luxury, it’s a right and a necessity. We must mobilize to ensure no one is left behind," she added.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, South Sudan’s health system was already overwhelmed and heavily dependent on humanitarian actors who now face troubling funding shortfalls.

IOM has reportedly issued an urgent appeal for funding to be able to continue providing impactful, cost-effective health-care services to the most vulnerable populations in South Sudan.

IOM is a key partner providing health services in the country and, should the Organization no longer be able to provide these services due to lack of funding, it will leave a huge gap and put the vulnerable in a desperate situation, it observed.

“Our capacity to respond depends on the availability of resources; should we have to withdraw our services, we could have an even bigger humanitarian crisis on our hands,” said Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM’s Chief of Mission in South Sudan.

”We also risk losing the gains made in providing access to adequate primary health care in South Sudan and toward the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. Never has it been more important for us to rally together and show our support to the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese whose lives are at risk.”

IOM says it requires $ 744,175 per month to continue providing life-saving health care.

(ST)

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