WHO delivers lifesaving medicines and supplies to displaced people in Yei River State, South Sudan

November 2016 – The World Health Organization (WHO) delivered lifesaving supplies to assist thousands of women and children in Yei River State, one of South Sudan’s states most affected by conflict.

The lifesaving health supplies will benefit more than 30 000 people living in areas affected by conflict in parts of Logo and Kirkwa in Yei River State for the next three months. The supplies include 20 basic unit kits, 10 basic antimalarial kits, five supplementary antimalarial kits, one Diarrhea Disease kit and one Interagency Health Kit.

“As a result of insecurity and restricted access, the humanitarian and health situation in South Sudan, particularly in Greater Equatoria regions continues to worsen,” said Dr Abdulmumini Usman, WHO Representative to South Sudan. “Many people no longer have access to health services. Now more than ever, women and children face a greater risk of death and illness due to diseases such as cholera and malaria. Our goal is to reach the affected civilian population who need our support the most.”

Recent skirmishes in South Sudan, particularly in the Greater Equatoria region, jeopardize urgently needed healthcare services reaching affected populations. Access to healthcare services in the region is extremely limited. Almost 40% of the region’s health facilities are non-functional due to insecurity, conflict-related destruction, damage and closure due to funding uncertainty and non-availability of health workers.

Since the conflict in South Sudan escalated in July, WHO distributed a total of 253 basic unit health kits and outbreak investigation kits to Health Cluster partners and state Ministries of Health, reaching a total of 253 000 people, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in conflict-affected areas.

As the crisis in South Sudan nears its third year, some 1.6 million people live in IDP camps and hard-to-reach areas, including besieged locations with no access to desperately needed health services. With support from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), WHO is working with the Government of South Sudan and partners to ensure humanitarian supplies are delivered and distributed to affected communities as efficiently as possible.

The recent supply dispatch is part of a larger integrated response by WHO and partners. In addition, WHO has maintained a steady stream of airlifts of essential medicines and supplies to conflict-affected states. WHO also provided items such as emergency tents to support a recent cholera outbreak response.

To improve delivery of humanitarian health assistance, WHO and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently conducted a Joint Assessment Mission on the current status of health service delivery in Yei River State, to generate reliable information on the current status and functioning of the health facility in providing health care services. WHO will also continue to support efforts to enhance South Sudan’s disease surveillance system to ensure the accurate and timely detection and reporting of epidemic-prone diseases to avert further spread and reduce morbidity and mortality.