WASHINGTON, February 27, 2019 — South Sudan has some of the worst health indicators in the world. Child mortality and morbidity rates are high, child malnutrition is severe, maternal mortality is among the highest in the world and endemic diseases present a heavy burden to the already stretched health care system. With a score of 0.30, the country also ranked 156th out of 157 countries globally, in the 2018 Human Capital Index (HCI).
“Years of conflict have had a devastating effect on South Sudan, eroded the already scarce physical and social infrastructure, leaving millions of South Sudanese without proper access to vital health services.” said Sahr Kpundeh, World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan. “the country’s low health indicators highlight the importance and urgency of investing in health and overall human development outcomes in the country" he added.
To help address some of these challenges and support the Government of South Sudan’s efforts to provide citizens with essential health services and strengthen its national health system, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved grants totaling US$105.4 million from the International Development Association.
Specifically, the new Provision of Essential Health Services Project will help improve geographical coverage of essential health and nutrition services; introduce flexible and dynamic approaches to service delivery such as outreach activities to high risk communities and internally displaced persons; train and deploy community health workers for preventive and basic curative services and train health professionals in various areas including on counseling and treatment for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The project will also fill critical resource gaps in South Sudan’s public health emergency preparedness, which is crucial given the ongoing Ebola outbreak in bordering Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The project takes on board over a decade of World Bank experience supporting South Sudan’s health sector, as well as integrating lessons learned from the Bank’s support to service delivery in particularly challenging environments around the world.” said Paul Jacob Robyn, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “This experience has enabled us to better understand and manage key risks through careful and measured approaches,” he added.
The project, which will be led in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), serves as a strong example of how development and humanitarian service providers can bring their comparative advantages together and work in a complementary manner.
“This partnership will enable us to save lives, making treatment and preventable care available to some of South Sudan’s most vulnerable communities,” said James Reynolds, ICRC’s Head of Delegation in South Sudan.
“The project will strengthen collaboration and coordination of all partners, maximizing each agency’s strengths and advantages, bringing high-impact health services to some of the most vulnerable children and women in the world,” said Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan.
The project is expected to benefit more than 3.5 million people in South Sudan.
ABOUT IDA* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people, the majority of whom live on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa. [This should be added only for Loans and Credits or when specifically speaking about IDA]