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South Sudan Urged to Improve Health Care

Mothers in a maternity unit in a Juba, South Sudan hospital (H. McNeish/VOA).
Mothers in a maternity unit in a Juba, South Sudan hospital (H. McNeish/VOA).
As South Sudan begins its second year of independence, it still faces many difficult challenges. One of the biggest tasks facing the new government is building a health care system where one barely exists.

The country has very few modern medical facilities even for those who can afford it. Many people, however, can’t afford to pay for any care.

Mayom Anyier was in a car accident nearly two years, as he travelled from Lakes State to Wau to register for university. His injuries were so severe that he was flown to Khartoum, the capital of what was then one Sudan, for treatment. Even in Khartoum there wasn’t much doctors could do for him.

Anyier returned to South Sudan a month ago. He is staying in a transit camp just outside Juba at the National Teacher Training Institute. He is being treated at a clinic that is run by an NGO, the International Medical Corps. They check his catheter and change it when necessary.

Anyier is separated from his parents and feels isolated. “My mother is very far. My father is old… [and] no government official has spoken to me," he said.

A recent press statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says women, children and the wounded remain particularly vulnerable because of the lack of quality health care in South Sudan.

Doctor Fred Wani of the Juba Medical Complex says everyone in South Sudan is at risk.

“I don’t think the government is putting any effort in doing anything to improve health services since they were destroyed during the war period,” he said. “The government hospitals lack virtually everything, including diagnostic equipment, which the government should be able to purchase with the kind of money they have been wasting.”

Dr. Wani was referring to a recent accusation by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit that some government officials have stolen up to $4 billion.

Anyier is asking for official support. He said, "I want to pass my message to the government of South Sudan. I am really in a weak situation since 2010 up to now, I don’t have support. Please let them help me."