COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off to Boost Coverage in South Sudan
JUBA, 28 January 2023 – The Ministry of Health, the World Bank, UNICEF and WHO launched a COVID-19 vaccine campaign today, following the arrival of 3.9 million vaccine doses into the country. The Vice President for Service Cluster, His Excellency Hussein Abdelbagi Akol launched the campaign and government officials and attendees received their required vaccines and booster shots to instill confidence and uptake by the general population.
Vaccination coverage remains low in South Sudan and the country-wide campaign aims to reach the 70% target. Teams of health professionals and community mobilisers are working across 80 counties over the next 3 months to engage with leaders and communities to administer COVID-19 vaccines for all people aged 18 and above, through the support of World Bank financing improving the essential health systems.
“These extra resources will enable South Sudan to strengthen its health system preparedness and help address the urgent health and nutrition needs, I call upon you to be a COVID-19 vaccine ambassador in your family, community, church and work. The vaccine is safe and effective for all people within South Sudan. Get vaccinated and tell your family and friends to get vaccinated too,” said Honorable Yolanda Awel Deng, Minister of Health, Republic of South Sudan.
Representing the World Bank Group, Country Manager Firas Raad emphasized that “this additional financing and campaign will help the Government of South Sudan address challenges in both the procurement and deployment of vaccines across the country. It will also strengthen South Sudan’s disease surveillance systems, laboratory capacity, and overall emergency preparedness at the national and subnational levels.”
“The provision of COVID-19 vaccines to the people of South Sudan contributes to the equitable access to vaccines that is required to effectively respond to this pandemic,” said Dr. Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative for South Sudan.
The unprecedented floods in as well as violence in some parts of the country have further hampered COVID-19 and regular childhood vaccine deployment efforts as well as access to health services – increasing risks of social exclusion particularly of those living in remote, conflict, and flood-affected areas.
“Our unique partnership with the World Bank and the Ministry of Health allows UNICEF to reach women and children in some of the hardest to reach communities in South Sudan and provide critical access to basic health services, and to ensure COVID-19 vaccination coverage -- enabling their right to survival and health,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan.
The arrival of the largest batch of COVID-19 vaccines, and the vaccination campaign is a part of the additional financing of US$ 200 million from the World Bank, aimed at improving capacity to respond to COVID-19 and provide essential health service delivery. First launched in 2021, the South Sudan COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project has been supporting the country to prevent, detect, and respond to the threats posed by COVID-19.
It has helped accelerate vaccine deployment efforts across the country and increased access to essential health services in Upper Nile and Jonglei states and in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area. Additionally, the project has been supporting the government’s stewardship of the health sector and its preparedness systems.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work in South Sudan visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan