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Adopting new health delivery strategies for populations displaced by conflict in South Sudan

 

From 2009, Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) has been working with various development partners in implementing a regional health care programme in South Sudan. 

 

The conflict and instability in 2016 in the Greater Yei River State covering Lainya, Kajo Keji, Morobo and Yei Counties not only resulted in ruining of livelihoods for the local communities, but also in destruction of health infrastructure and looting of health facilities. For example, solar panels installed in health facilities in Morobo, Yei, and Mundri West under the solar project funded by Bread for the World and water supply systems installed in some of the health facilities were all looted. Over 80% of health facilities became inaccessible and non-functional since health workers were displaced. Most of the population was displaced to the town and some trapped in the villages. With over 80% of health facilities closed there was essential no basic services to the displaced populations

 

 


Relocating displaced health workers, working with religious leaders, local chiefs and political leaders, using temporary and mobile clinics, establishing temporary cold chains in church premises, seeking alternative routes for delivery of supplies 


 

To respond to this challenge, AAH-I adopted new strategies for continuity of the delivery of health services to internally displaced people (IDPs). We strengthened the few remaining health facilities by relocating displaced health workers to functional health facilities. Working with religious leaders, local chiefs and political leaders, a new health services delivery model was adopted through the use of temporary and mobile clinics to keep up with the movement of population. Chiefs supported the mobilization of communities for services and delivery of supplies in areas that were inaccessible. Negotiations with political leaders and the military ensured delivery of health services for IDPs in rebel-controlled areas in Kajo Keji County. To ensure availability of immunization services, cold chains were also temporarily established in church premises especially in Lainya County. Alternative routes for delivery of supplies were explored and supplies for Kajo Keji were delivered via Uganda after negotiations with authorities in both South Sudan and Uganda. Additionally, positions within the health facilities have been filled with qualified cadres and workers trained in partnership with development partners – with the International Medical Corps in Yei Health Science Training School and with the South Sudan Ministry of Health at Kajo Keji School of Nursing.

 

The 2017 mid-year review of the health project highlighted how these significant investments and improvements continue to ensure that health facilities have basic equipment and infrastructure, and that minimum standards of quality health care are observed. In the period from November 2016 to June 2017, these innovations ensured access to health services for the population in need, especially through the 124 AAH-I-managed health facilities - 5 Hospitals, 28 primary health care centres and 91 primary health care units.  

 

 

AAH South Sudan Health

Attending to a patient during a mobile clinic outreach session 

 

Achieving impact

As at June 2017, 4,535 pregnant women accessed at least one antenatal care service and 1,065 pregnant women delivered in health facilities. Out of these, 818 were attended to by a skilled birth attendant. 3,895 children aged between 0 and 11months received the third immunization dose of DPT-HepB-Hib. Growth monitoring was conducted for 15,759 children under 5 years. 661 of them were identified as malnourished and attended to. Additionally, 37,713 children under 5 years accessed curative consultation services while 93,856 of population above 5 years accessed curative consultation services.

 

It has been difficult for my community to access essential health services since the beginning of the crisis in Yei. Now our disadvantaged population - children, pregnant mothers, elderly and the disabled can access health services in Kukango Static Clinic. Even people trapped in areas outside the town like Lun, Payawa and Alero come through the bushes to seek services in the clinic. The good news is that they always get services and go home with some medicine,” said Justin Diko, Ronyi Boma Chief, Yei Town Payam, Yei County.

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.