The FINANCIAL -- The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on June 30 approved US$40 million in additional financing to support the government of South Sudan’s efforts to improve health services.
Decades of conflict, massive displacement of the population, widespread insecurity, and consistent under investment had led to the collapse of the health care system, resulting in poor health status of the population. As a result, South Sudan has among the lowest health indicators in the world including in the areas of child and maternal mortality as well as malnutrition, according to the World Bank.
To address this challenge, the World Bank has invested over $63 million in the Health Rapid Result Project (HRRP), including an initial USD$28 million in 2012 under the South Sudan Transition Trust Fund and an additional US$35 million International Development Agency (IDA) financing in 2014.This has enabled millions of South Sudanese in Jonglei and Upper Nile states to continue receiving vital health care services such as vaccination, prenatal care and skilled birth attendance during times of conflict.
“HRRP bridged a crucial gap and provided the back-bone of health service delivery even when circumstances were challenging,” said Sahr Kpundeh, World bank Country Manager for South Sudan.
Since 2012, HRRP has contributed to positive improvements in the health sector including in:
the increase in the number of children under the age of 12 months immunized against DPT3 from zero to 74973;
the increase in the number of pregnant women receiving antenatal care during a visit to a health provider from zero to 115505;
the increase in the number of deliveries attended by skilled health personnel from zero to 10921;
purchasing and distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated malaria nets that rose from zero to 2534785
These achievements were done in addition to activities to enhance the capacity and efficiency of county health departments, such as the implementation of the health Information management system, and household and health facility surveys to feed into monitoring and planning.
The additional financing will further improve the delivery of high impact primary health care services in Upper Nile and Jonglei states; and strengthen the coordination, monitoring and evaluation capacities of the Ministry of Health. It will also fill the funding gap needed to scale up the development effectiveness of the project.
Furthermore, the funds will be used for the procurement and distribution of pharmaceuticals to the states of Jonglei and Upper Nile, which is essential to the delivery of health care and addresses the huge gap in the provision of pharmaceutical supplies.
“As the first World Bank operation since the recent conflict, this project sets an important milestone in our engagement in South Sudan,” said the World Bank’s Country Director for South Sudan, Carolyn Turk. “We hope that this will be one of many operations to follow,” she added.