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JUBA - 22 Jun 2020

COVID-19: Is South Sudan’s health system prepared?

South Sudan could be in the worst position in the world for Coronavirus, according to a report by Deep Knowledge Group, a Hong Kong-based consortium of commercial and non-profit organizations. The group put together a data analysis of 20 measures of countries’ abilities to respond to Coronavirus. South Sudan came in very last, behind 199 other countries worldwide.

According to reports, South Sudan only has 14 ventilators and 24 ICU beds.“South Sudan has only an estimated 0.15 doctors per 10,000 people – one of the lowest rates in the world,” the IRC report said.

Recently, several health authorities in the states have cried out for the lack of trained health personnel who could handle coronavirus patients.

In other parts, officials in RumbekEzoLeerMelut County, have also reported a lack of enough testing kits in their health facilities.

What might be more worrisome are quarantined people who have been in contact with persons who tested positive with the virus are now seen escaping from the isolation facilities due to limited food supply and improper fencing.

And it’s not only Coronavirus that poses a health risk to people in South Sudan. The IRC and other NGOs are warning of food insecurity and other challenges due to the lockdowns, the unfolding crisis, locusts, and drought.

The World Health Organization has been working to improve health facilities and train health workers across the country to help the government stop the spread of the virus.

“WHO will work closely with the leadership of the Ministry of Health and partners to ensure a coordinated and impactful response to fight the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr Olu Olushayo, WHO representative for South Sudan, at the end of April.  “It is extremely important to scale up our response efforts to save lives and leave no one behind.”