The health crisis in South Sudan consists of unprecedented flooding, disease outbreak and a lack of food. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), maternal mortality ranges from 789 to 1,150 per 100,000 live births in South Sudan. Additionally, only about 41% of people have access to safe drinking water and only 11% can access adequate sanitation facilities. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) increased its efforts to provide the most vulnerable populations with basic health protections. Here are five ways UNICEF is solving the health crisis in South Sudan.
5 Ways UNICEF Is Solving The Health Crisis in South Sudan
- Disease Control – South Sudan is battling communicable diseases such as pneumonia, which has a 13% prevalence in the country, and malaria, which accounts for 35% of visits to the hospital. The health facilities in the country were destroyed and looted because of the previous conflicts, which further spread communicable diseases. However, UNICEF provided 174,577 people and 86,846 children with primary healthcare services. At the start of January 2022, 21 counties experienced a measles outbreak. In response, UNICEF and other partners organized a vaccination measles campaign for about 300,000 children ages six months to 15 years at the beginning of October 2022. These immunization efforts spread to children under one to stop the health crisis in South Sudan.
- WASH Services – There are many people without water, sanitation and hygiene because of the yearly floods in various regions of South Sudan. Additionally, the previous conflicts in South Sudan destroyed the country’s most basic water and hygiene facilities. However, UNICEF provides safe drinking water to various communities in South Sudan by drilling boreholes and giving families purification tablets. There are additional services that UNICEF implemented in the country as well, such as the construction of bathrooms and the encouragement of washing hands to prevent the possible spread of diseases.
- Food and Nutrition – According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, about 54% of the population in South Sudan lacks food. The health crisis in South Sudan continues with seven of the country’s states with severe food insecurity for 15% of the population. Data shows that 25,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition in some states. UNICEF provides nutrition services for the two most vulnerable populations: women and children. The organization treated 235,967 children (127,535 girls and 108,432 boys) with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) by allocating resources towards inpatient and outpatient therapeutic programs, targeting 78% of the burden. Lastly, with feeding and counseling services, UNICEF reached 1,755,674 pregnant women or caregivers of children 0-23 months.
- Media Literacy – In October 2022, UNICEF increased its Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) efforts for Ebola. Through community engagement, UNICEF supported the National Malaria Control Program and launched the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign. Data demonstrates that UNICEF worked with the government to broadcast 18 talk shows and 1,674 radio jingles in eight languages more than 40 local radio stations, reaching more than 40% of the population. The broadcast messages educated the public about nutrition, immunization and infant diseases. Furthermore, educational materials for high-risk areas of illness or low health reached about 15,000 people. Lastly, UNICEF supported the Integrated Community Mobilization Network (ICMN), which included COVID-19 prevention information for 175,780 households and face-to-face interactions spreading scientifically accurate vaccine information to local communities for the health crisis in South Sudan.
- Education – The health crisis in South Sudan is one of the worst in the world, especially for children. Furthermore, there is a maternal mortality rate for children under 5 of 135 per 1,000 live births. However, UNICEF is educating the local health workers in South Sudan. The organization provides local health workers with the necessary knowledge and tools to cure diseases in most rural communities. Additionally, there are essential drugs along with education to increase the complete eradication of dangerous and prevalent diseases.
The amount of work and effort UNICEF provides to various countries in need worldwide is insufficient to list it all. Whether through WASH services or food nutrition, the organization is helping to solve South Sudan’s major health problems. UNICEF demonstrates that intergovernmental humanitarian organizations are essential to the world’s global health.
– Andres Valencia