SSHCO Works to Revamp Healthcare System in Jonglei State

SSHCO Works to Revamp Healthcare System in Jonglei State

After the formation of South Sudan’s Jonglei State in October 2015, newly appointed Gov. Philip Aguer Panyang introduced a manifesto for state reconstruction that included the goal of building a stronger healthcare infrastructure. South Sudan is combating low vaccination rates, a deadly malnutrition problem, and a 7 percent infant mortality rate.

“Nearly 46 percent of children receive no vaccinations during the first 12 months of their lives,” said Jacob Atem, co-founder of the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization (SSHCO).

Gov. Aguer’s plan for combatting the Jonglei State’s poor health environment includes building hospitals in major regions and supplemental health clinics in remote regions. The final provision of the plan is to encourage medical diaspora to lend support to these new medical facilities. Only 85 South Sudanese doctors remain within the borders.

In February 2016, Gov. Aguer invited SSHCO to draft a proposal detailing how the organization would meet his goals for improving the healthcare system in South Sudan’s largest state. To meet Aguer’s healthcare goals, SSHCO put forward a proposal to expand healthcare access statewide by leveraging the strengths of multiple non-profit organizations. In so doing, SSHO submitted the proposal in collaboration with the John Dau Foundation (JDF) and Partners in Compassionate Care (PICC).

JDF will focus on the goal of keeping doctors in the country and encouraging medical diaspora to return to contribute their services. JDF will provide training for healthcare professionals and bring healthcare education to the masses. The organization has previously worked to recruit volunteers through mission trips and train medical workers outside Duk County. JDF has also conducted extensive background research in malnutrition and can use its research expertise for practical applications.  

PICC will focus on the goal of building three new referral hospitals. PICC can provide blueprints for hospital construction as well as volunteers. The organization founded the Memorial Christian Hospital in 2003, a facility with resources that include a pharmacy, imaging capabilities, vaccination services, and nutrition counseling. PICC also brings fundraising abilities to the table, with specializes in grant writing and donation solicitation.

SSHCO will focus on the goal of building more health clinics. The organization constructed a healthcare clinic in the village of Maar in 2013, an area that previously had no access to quality healthcare. The organization has sought to fight malaria, the high infant mortality rate, and diarrheal diseases, among other maladies. The clinic has maintained operations through natural disasters and government upheaval.

“All three non-profit organizations are highly experienced in their respective fields and can bring positive change to the system in place,” Atem said in the proposal.

The three organizations signed a memorandum of understanding to work with both Aguer and Minister of Health and Environment Angok Gordon Kuol. In working to design both short- and long-term goals, the organizations hope to bring quality healthcare treatment and education to the South Sudanese people.

 

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