UNHCR commends South Sudan as first refugees receive COVID-19 vaccination

The first refugee receives Covid-19 jab in South Sudan | Photo: UNHCR

Thessherald—Refugees in South Sudan are receiving COVID-19 jabs during the rollout of the country’s national vaccination campaign, joining Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda in including refugees in their COVID-19 vaccination plan in the East African Region. Today, 13 people, among them 10 refugees from the Gorom Refugee Settlement located some 20km outside of Juba and three members of the host community including one health worker visited the Buluk Police Hospital for their vaccine.

For vulnerable refugees, their inclusion in the national vaccination campaign could not have come soon enough, “I came to receive my first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, I feel very fine, there is no pain and the process is very simple,” shared Ojullu Ochan Ochan, a refugee from Ethiopia. “I encourage all refugees in South Sudan and the region including the host community to take the vaccine to protect themselves and their families” he added.

Health workers are among the group to receive the jab in line with the national vaccination plan of prioritizing frontline workers in the country. “I came today to take my COVID-19 vaccine in order to share my experience with others and bring home the message that I am doing very well and to encourage others to take the vaccine to protect themselves, their families and their communities,” explained Dut Yual Agoth, a volunteer health worker from the host community with UNHCR partner ACROSS.

Since the start of the pandemic, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in collaboration with its partners and the government, has scaled up its COVID-19 response activities to keep refugees, internally displaced people, returnees as well as the communities hosting them safe across South Sudan. Life-saving support such as boosting water and sanitation services, increasing access to healthcare including the renovation of health facilities and provision of ongoing regular services including nutrition programmes continued despite the pandemic.

The organization also provided three ambulances to state authorities, installed six COVID-19 testing machines in refugee settings in Maban, Jamjang, Makpandu, and in Yei, as well as airlifted various medical items including oxygen concentrators, portable ventilators, emergency supplies including soap. UNHCR also established two intensive care units in Maban and in Pariang, and COVID-19 isolation units in all refugee camps. Personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, gowns, and sanitizers continue to be supplied to health facilities that are serving the forcibly displaced families across the country.

The roll-out of the national vaccination campaign has also heralded good news for students. Schools have reopened following more than one year of closure. Since March of 2020, UNHCR and education partners have supported remote learning for refugee and host community students, however in-class attendance and the joy of studying alongside friends everyday has been greatly missed. To support the reopening of in-person learning this May, UNHCR also made improvements to water and sanitation facilities in primary and secondary schools.

“Today, I wish to commend South Sudan for the continued generosity to include refugees as well as internally displaced people in the national preparedness and response plans since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UNHCR’s Representative, Arafat Jamal. “Safeguarding refugee health also protects the health of their host communities and wider society, and UNHCR is working with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and partners to support the roll-out in all refugee hosting locations.”

UNHCR participates in the National COVID-19 Steering Committee, headed by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, and in its various technical working groups, headed by other partners in implementing the national COVID-19 preparedness and response plan including among forcibly displaced populations.

UNHCR reiterates that refugees, internally displaced and stateless people and their local host communities must be included on an equal footing with citizens in national responses to the pandemic, including public health access, vaccines, and social safety nets, and the South Sudan government has shown this.

S. Sudan receives powdered milk from Egypt to feed its malnourished children

Lactating mothers with undying health conditions to receive powered milk donated by Egypt | Photo: Gore Anthony

Egypt—As reports of food insecurity and malnutrition set off alarm bells, the Egyptian government has donated tons of powered milk in an effort to combat child malnutrition in the country.

In a press briefing at the Juba International Airport, the South Sudanese Minister of Peace-Building, Stephen Par Kuol, noted that the donated powered milk will will be distributed to lactating mothers with undying health conditions.

“We are here to receive these donations from the Egyptian government. These are powder milk for young women who can’t breastfeed their children due to some health problems.” Par told journalists at JIA.

On his part, the Egyptian Ambassador to South Sudan, Dr. Mohammed M. Kadah reiterated his government’s commitment to helping malnourished children in South Sudan.

“We are here to handover powdered milk to our friends in the Republic of South Sudan. The donation includes 15 tons of powder milk which will help malnourished children,” he said.

A new report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs predicts that over 7.2 million people are expected to face severe food insecurity by the end of the year.

Mother of a child born with imperforate anus appeals for assistance

A single mother, whose baby was born with an anal malformation also known as imperforate anus, has appealed to the public to contribute approximately 70,000 SSP needed as medical bills.

The mother, who lives in a suburb of Juba, says she had difficulty caring for the disabled child on her own as there was no free medical intervention from nearby hospitals.

South Sudan’s conflict, which first erupted in mid-December 2013, has posed a major threat to the health sector, leaving millions of people vulnerable in the country.

More details on SSBC: http://bit.ly/3pGwq2e

What causes an imperforate anus in children?

Imperforate anus occurs when the anal opening is absent or not in a normal position. It is a birth defect caused by the failure of normal development of the anal area. Sometimes a fistula (abnormal passage) is present between the bowel and the vagina in girls, or between the bowel and the urinary tract in boys.

There are three types of imperforate anus:

• High type – no anal opening is present and the rectum ends above the muscles at the bottom of the pelvis (hip bones). These children may have a fistula.

• Intermediate type – the end of the rectum and anal canal extend through the muscle at the bottom of the pelvis. These children may have a fistula.

• Low type – the rectum ends below the muscles at the bottom of the pelvis. There is often an anal opening present, but it is in an abnormal position or is covered by a membrane.

Why training of both male and female midwives is necessary in South Sudan

Opinion | By Tong Deng Anei

Nursing and Midwifery students jointly trained by the Arizona State University Solar SPELL Initiative and ASU Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation | Photo: Juba School of Nursing and Midwifery

Opinion —News feature article on Radio Tamazuj, published on 27 December 2020, with title, “Communities in Aweil Reject Male Midwives,” just caught my attention with much interest. The complaints voiced by some community members against the introduction of male midwifery professionals is not new and surprising to me as a former State Minister of health in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State (NBG), who was involved in the implementation of the National Ministry of Health (MOH) Policy Framework 2013-2016.

Let me start by saying that the ultimate objective for midwifery programming is to reduce the highest rate of maternal mortality rates. Hence, this is the context in which the training of midwifery in Aweil and other Health Science Institutes across South Sudan work.

For example, “South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates (MMR) in the world, estimated at 2054/100,000 live births. Although 46.7%5 of pregnant women attend at least one antenatal clinic (ANC) visit, skilled health professionals attend only 14.7% of deliveries”

(MOH 2013/2016 policy Framework).

The main objectives for training midwifery are as follows:

1: To increase the utilization and quality of health services, with emphasis on maternal and child health.

2: To scale up health promotion and protection interventions so as to empower communities to take charge of their health.

3: To strengthen institutional functioning including governance and health system effectiveness and efficiency.

And the following are priority areas:

1: Adequate human resource for health (HRH), which is the greatest asset of the health system (training, recruitment, the motivation of the adequate number of the right skill mix, right support). Human resource is a cornerstone for efficient health service delivery.

2: Improve accessibility of health services for the population by providing additional health infrastructures (Primary Health Care Centers (PHCCs), Primary Health Care Units (PHCUs), hospitals) and reactivating nonfunctional health facilities. The latter cannot be achieved in absence of HRH.

South Sudan faced a severe shortage of health workers in number and skills. Most health facilities are run by Community Health Workers (CHWs). The issue of staff shortage is noted as a priority both in the Health Sector Development Plan and State Strategic plan. During study undertaken in 2013/2014, the accessibility to health facilities by the population is estimated to be at 7.8%. This shows that most of our people have no access to health services. It was our goal to ensure that at least 50% of the population access health services by increasing the training of healthcare workers.

It was established that reducing maternal and under-five mortality is a priority area so that we achieve MDG 4 and 5. In 2013/2014, the state Maternal Mortality rate is 2182/100,000 deliveries, and Under-five mortality rate is 165/1000 live births. Both these indicators were highest in NBG state and the aim is to reduce by 20% over three years’ period.

The following were the key activities and achievements of State Ministry of Health (SMOH) 2014– 2015, financial year:

• In order to address human resource shortages and skills gaps at the healthcare facilities, 100 staff were recruited for the state of which 43 were posted to Aweil state hospital. Additional 500 health workers were recruited under the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded Health Pooled Fund (HPF) and 65 staffs were promoted to different functional grades.

• 45 students were accepted in various health science institutes across the country and 13 students were sent to Caribbean Island to study medicine at St. George University. A total of 140 students were enrolled to study for clinical medicine, nursing and midwifery in Aweil Health Science Institute and 5 students from Aweil East were sponsored for a long term diploma training in midwifery and nursing.

• However the SMOH is faced with cultural barrier challenges. SMOH was not able to enrol adequate qualify female into the midwifery Diploma program because the parents are not willing to allow their daughters to long term training program.

The SMOH was left with no choice but to enroll the good number of young men and few women into the midwifery program. The training program, designed to provide save deliveries is not appreciated by the traditional birth attendants (TBA) women who felt to have been left redundant as a result of the midwifery development program. After noting this, the SMOH was planning to develop an exit strategy for the TBA so that doesn’t feel ignored. I hope the State government will implement this strategy to ensure that the role played by the TBA in absent of the professional midwives is appreciated.

Mr Tong Deng Anei is a former minister of health in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State (NBG). He can be reached via Ageni.tong@gmail.com

Note: The views expressed in the ‘Opinion’ section are sole responsibility of individual authors and will take full responsibility, liability and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The South Sudan Herald is not liable for any comment submitted by individuals or authors and reserves the right to delete any opinion piece for any reason whatsoever.

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Kiir pays tribute to Covid-19 victims, wishes S. Sudanese “Merry Christmas”

President Salva Kiir Mayardit |Photo: File

Dec 25, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has sent a message of solidarity to families who might have lost their loved ones to the Coronavirus and wished the people of South Sudan a Merry Christmas.

“My family and I convey our warmest Christmas greetings to all believers who are celebrating the birth of our lord Jesus Christ, both within our country and across the world. As you come together to celebrate this joyous occasion with your families, friends and communities, I am urging all of you to maintain peace during this festive season.”

He added that, “let this season reflect our lord’s status as the Prince of peace through our conduct toward each other. To Christians who do not celebrate Christmas, kindly allow the spirit of ecumenical solidarity to bind you with your neighbours as they partake in these festivities.”

Speaking on Christmas Eve, President Kiir paid tribute to the frontline workers who put their lives on the line every day defending and fighting against the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“As we welcome the Lord in our hearts, I encourage you to remember the challenges we have faced as a country this year and pray that the lord’s spirit will continue to nurture and strengthen our unity to stand together as a people despite these difficulties. We also need to collectively pray for God’s guidance and blessing as we strive to foster deeper understanding in our work to resolve conflict in our country once and for all.”

“During this festive season, let’s remember the compatriots we lost to COVID-19 pandemic and pay tribute to health workers who have been in the fore front in the battle against this virus since the first case was reported. I also would like to take this opportunity to salute all the public servants for their dedicated service to our country, especially the members of organized forces.”

Breaking: Minister of Finance collapses, rushed to Nairobi

Diing Athian Athian takes oath of office on Friday, September 18, 2020| Photo: Office of the President
Diing Athian Athian takes oath of office on Friday, September 18, 2020| Photo: Office of the President

October 30, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Diing Athian Athian has collapsed and rushed to Nairobi, Kenya for further medical attention, according to Information Minister Michel Makuei Lueth.

Makuei confirmed that the Finace Minster suddenly fainted on Thursday during a meeting attended by several government officials in the capital, Juba.

“Minister Athian Diing Athian reportedly developed stomach complications and experienced some nausea before being airlifted to Kenya,” the local Radio station – Eye Radio – was quoted as saying.

“I am not a medical doctor but what I know is he was evacuated because he suddenly fainted,” Makuei revealed to Eye Radio this morning.

Attempts by the South Sudan Herald to reach family members for comment has hit a snag.

South Sudanese mother gives birth to sextuplets on Sunday

Mother and father welcoming their sextuplets
Parents happily and joyfully welcoming their sextuplets in the hospital |Photo: File

October 6, 2020 (Thessherald)–A South Sudanese mother had left the whole community astonished after she gave birth to sextuplets ( six twins) last Sunday evening.

In a picture shared on social media earlier this week, the father, mother and other relatives were seen sharing happiness and joy over such an extraordinary blessing from God.

Sextuplets are the rarest twins that a woman can conceive naturally without the use of complementary fertility drugs such as clomiphene and gonadotropins.

This year, there have been unusual cases of multiple births witnessed in South Sudan, however, due to lack of public records in health facilities, the exact number of multiple births may not be known countrywide.

In June, a mother – in her 20s – gave birth to quadruplets (two boys and two girls) in the capital, Juba.

Trump admits COVID-19 is real, urges social distancing

President Donald Trump and the First Lady
US President, Donald J. Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump |Photo:File

Oct 2, 2020 (Thessherald)–The United States President, Donald J. Trump has admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic that he has been calling a hoax is becoming real and must be taken seriously.

Earlier on Friday, the president announced his status on social media, admitting that he had been tested positive for the virus.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS [US first lady] and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” said Trump on Twitter account.

The White House confirmed the president’s current state of health with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows telling reporters Trump and the first lady “remain in good spirits” while confirming additional updates on their health will be given throughout the day.

“The president does have mild symptoms, and as we look to try to make sure that not only his health and safety and welfare is good, we continue to look at that for all of the American people,” he said. “He continues to be not only in good spirits, but very energetic.”

President Donald Trump, after testing positive for the disease, has been criticized by senior US officials for his botched approaches to the global pandemic.

“This is tragic, it’s very sad,” U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in an interview on Friday.

“But it also is something that, again, going into crowds, unmasked, and all the rest, was sort of a brazen invitation for something like this to happen,” she added.

U.S. pledges $108m in humanitarian assistance for S. Sudan

The Emblem of the State Department, USA.
Official Emblem of the United States (Photo: US)

Sept 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–In the face of the ongoing alarming humanitarian crisis facing the people of South Sudan, the United States has pledged $108 million in humanitarian aid to help alleviate their suffering across the region.

The pledge was announced two days ago, at the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting, entitled “A Dialogue with the World’s Top Ten Donors on Global Humanitarian Needs,” hosted by the United States.

“We announced nearly $108 million in humanitarian assistance for the people South Sudan, including South Sudanese in neighboring countries. This funding includes nearly $97 million from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and more than $11 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance,” the U. S. said in its statement.


Since the onset of the conflict in South Sudan in 2013, the United States has contributed nearly $5.5 billion and an additional $ 64 million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the response, including refugees and those affected by conflict and natural disasters, to nearly $907 million in Fiscal Year 2020 alone and nearly $5.5 billion since the start of the crisis in 2014, including more than $64 million in supplemental humanitarian assistance to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.”

“Heavy rains, fighting between armed groups, food insecurity, a deteriorating economic situation, and the COVID-19 pandemic have compounded an already dire humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.”

“In this response to the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, the United States supports the operations of a network of nearly 30 non-governmental organizations, including faith-based organizations, and international organizations like the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Food Program, the International Organization for Migration, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance, both in South Sudan and globally.”

The United States reaffirms its commitment to support the people of South Sudan in these difficult situations in their lives.

“We will continue to be a catalyst for the international response to alleviate the suffering of the people of South Sudan.”

Vice-President Abdelbaggi returns to Juba after medical check up in Nairobi

Vice-President Hussein Abdelbaggi being received by government officials upon arrival at JIA | Photo: File
Vice-President Hussein Abdelbaggi being received by government officials upon arrival at JIA | Photo: File

Sept 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan’s Vice President for Services Cluster, Hussein Abdelbaggi Ayii, who also doubles up as the head of the National Task-Force on COVID-19, has jetted back to Juba after seeking medical care in Neighboring Kenya.

Speaking to the press this afternoon, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Vice-President, Steven Lual, confirmed the arrival of Abdelbaggi in the nation’s capital, Juba.

“I am writing to you to announce the arrival of His Excellency Hussein Abdelbaggi Akol Ayii, the Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan for services Cluster, to the country’s capital Juba this afternoon,” Lual was quoted by the Sudans Post as saying.

Steven Lual

Lual assures members of the public that his boss is fully back on his feet and will be resuming his duty as soon as possible.

“He arrived in the country this afternoon after a hospital visit to Kenya. He is in his best condition and he will go ahead with his usual duties immediately,” Lual added.

Vice-President Hussein Abdelbaggi Ayii is one of the five Vice-Presidents appointed in line with the provisions of the peace agreement.

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