Support essential health care for all
One in every 10 children in South Sudan dies before their fifth birthday
South Sudan has one of the highest under-five mortality rates in the world. Over 38,000 children under five die annually, mostly from preventable illnesses. Malaria, diarrhoea, and pneumonia are responsible for over 75 per cent of these deaths. Additionally, high levels of malnutrition also contribute to the high under-five mortality.
Although the uptake of vaccination in South Sudan is improving after years of decline, only half of all children under-one year are fully immunized. The maternal mortality ratio for South Sudan is over 1,150 per 100,000 live births, also one of the highest in the world.
Given the weak healthcare system and the low coverage of community-based services, access to life-saving preventive and curative services is compromised. A significant number of people in South Sudan in hard to reach and in internally displaced locations remain under-served. Seasonal and persisting flooding, an aftermath of climate change, as well as continued sub-national violence also exacerbate access constraints. The resulting displacement and destruction of health infrastructure also increases incidences and outbreaks of diseases whereby children under-five children are most impacted.
To save lives, UNICEF – together with the Government and its partners – is implementing programmes to improve access to basic health services for children and women throughout the country, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable populations in the remote areas of Upper-Nile and Jonglei States.
To support access to essential health services in these States, UNICEF has set up a unique partnership with the Ministry of Health and the World Bank. The $55.3 million programme funded by the World Bank in South Sudan also focuses on COVID-19 vaccine deployment in the country. The current programme builds on the one initiated in 2018 which, thanks to the support of the World Bank, facilitated the vaccination of more than 120,000 children against measles, provided more than 50,000 pregnant women with antenatal care services. The programme also supported health community workers to undertake more than 600,000 consultations and facilitated the delivery of 587 tons of medical supplies and medicines.