News Outlets Report On Health Landscape In South Sudan

Al Jazeera reports on the public health situation in South Sudan, which gained its independence on Saturday, and profiles Juba Teaching Hospital, the new country’s largest medical center. “A lack of proper primary care facilities in South Sudan means the doctors here are often overworked: Many of the doctors at the hospital come to work seven days a week,” Al Jazeera writes. “The health ministry has plans to open a network of primary care centers – roughly one per 15,000 people – but none are fully operational,” according to the news service. About 80 percent of the medical care in South Sudan is provided by international aid organizations, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Carlstrom, 7/10).

In related coverage, Inter Press Service writes that “experts and policy makers all agree that urgent steps have to be taken to address the health sector in the country.” The article highlights maternal and infant health, noting that “South Sudan has one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world. … According to the Sudan Household Health Survey and the World Children’s Status Report 2008 by UNICEF, out of [every] 1,000 live births in health institutions, 102 infants die.” Olivia Lomoro, the under secretary in the ministry of health, “says government is aware of the situation and has put in place systems to address the problem,” IPS writes (Onyango, 7/8).