South Sudan Faces Serious Health Challenges As New Nation, Lancet Newsdesk Reports

In South Sudan, which is poised to become “the world’s newest country” in July, “90% of the population lives on less than $1 a day,” and the region is plagued by multiple systemic health issues as a result of years of war, Lancet Infectious Diseases Newsdesk reports.

Conflict between the southern and northern regions of Sudan, dating back to 1955, has contributed to the health challenges in the country and a shortage of health care workers, the publication reports.

More than 80% of the population has no toilet access and the region’s “maternal mortality rate – an estimated 2,054 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births – is the worst in the world,” and more than one in 10 children die before reaching one year old in Sudan, according to the publication. The region also has high rates of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The article examines the health risks faced by some of the South Sudanese who moved north to avoid conflict and are now returning to the south and the calls by aid groups for funding to support rebuilding the region’s health infrastructure. The piece includes comments by Jorge Alvar of the WHO and Elin Jones and Koert Ritmeijer, both of MSF (Burki, April 2011).