About South Sudan
On July 9, 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan after a brutal civil war that lasted more than two decades, claimed over than 2 million lives and displaced about 4 million civilians from their homes. The new Republic of South Sudan has a population of over 11 million people.
Huge challenges and tasks face the Republic of South Sudan as it tries to address the worst primary health care issues. What contributes most to the high morbidity and mortality rates in South Sudan is failure of the health care system to reach the under-served population in their villages with cost-effective life saving interventions. Access to basic primary health care services—specifically maternal and child health care services—is a top priority issue in post-civil-war South Sudan, and the lack of access to these healthcare services contributes to increasing child and maternal morbidity and mortality.
A 2006 Household Survey indicated that infant mortality rate is 102 per 1000 live births, and children under the age of five are dying at the rate of 135 per 1000 live births, the highest in the world. The same survey indicated that 32.9 percent of children under five were underweight, and immunization coverage against childhood diseases was only 17.03 percent. Only 23.11 percent of expectant mothers received prenatal care from skilled health provider, and 13.6 percent of infants were delivered in a healthcare institution. The level of contraceptive usage has stayed at 3.5 percent, and 31.73 percent of mothers received at least two doses of tetanus toxoid vaccine during pregnancy. These poor indicators lead to high maternal mortality ratio of 2054 per 100,000 live births (SHHS 2006).
The greatest causes of morbidity and mortality in children under five in South Sudan are malaria, pneumonia, and diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, vaccine preventable diseases, and malnutrition. In 2007, malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia accounted for up to 62.3 percent (malaria 33.8 percent, diarrhea 22.8 percent, Pneumonia 6.2 percent) of the Outpatient Department morbidity and 81.8 percent (malaria 34.3 percent, diarrhea 22.1 percent, and pneumonia 25.4 percent) of admissions at the Torit Hospital Pediatric Ward. Additionally, the Sudan Household and Health Survey in 2006 recorded very high rates of morbidity among children aged between 0 and 59 months. About 44.7 percent of children surveyed suffered from fever, 44.2 percent had diarrhea, and 13.6 percent had pneumonia.