On July 9th, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. As such, yesterday marked the 12-year anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, rendering it the world’s youngest nation as of 2023. While South Sudan initially made massive strides forward – perpetuated by the goodwill of its people and the international community – the nation has since faced historic levels of flooding in tandem with prolonged violent conflict (OHCHR). These issues have fueled one of the worst displacement crises Africa has seen, inhibiting access to healthcare and other necessities for life.
In recognition of South Sudan’s 12th year of independence, we want to reiterate the issues at hand in the country, alongside the action underway by members of the global malaria community in partnership with the South Sudanese people. Below is a publication originally from November 2022 outlining the work of United to Beat Malaria, SC Johnson, and other global partners to support the fight against malaria in the midst of the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
The world’s youngest nation, South Sudan has faced historic levels of flooding in recent years – the worst the region has seen in 60 years – and prolonged violent conflict around the country, fueling Africa’s worst displacement crisis. The South Sudanese people, 41% of whom are aged 14 and under (WHO), remain resilient while working towards a brighter future. But flooding and insecurity impact virtually all aspects of life, constraining access to vital aid and healthcare. Over 70% (8.9 million people) of South Sudan’s population are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, per the United Nations.
The country’s vast flood plains have created ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, in a country where malaria is already the leading cause of reported sickness and death (WHO). Global partners – including SC Johnson, Society for Family Health (SFH) Rwanda, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and United to Beat Malaria – are supporting nationwide efforts to fight malaria during this ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Check out the film below to learn more about collaborative efforts to fight malaria in South Sudan.
HEALTH POST MAKES HEALTHCARE MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR SOUTH SUDAN’S GUDELE COMMUNITY
With a population of around 12 million and 189 licensed physicians, South Sudan has just one physician for every 65,574 citizens, according to the World Health Organization. In a country where 56% of the population lives at least five kilometers from the nearest health facility, South Sudanese parents often carry sick children for hours, navigating the country’s many flood plains, just to get them the urgent care they need.
In August 2021, SC Johnson partnered with the South Sudan Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health (SFH) Rwanda to launch a community health clinic in South Sudan. The clinic is located in Gudele, where the nearest hospital is over 3 hours away. During the first year of operation, more than 4,000 people sought health care at the Gudele Clinic, including more than 2,500 people diagnosed and treated for malaria.
In addition, SFH Rwanda staff conducted door-to-door household visits in Gudele, educating the residents about key malaria prevention strategies that can reduce the risk of mosquito breeding and malaria infection. As part of the awareness campaign, SFH Rwanda distributed free mosquito repellents provided by SC Johnson and taught residents how to properly use them.
MALARIA PREVENTION CAMPAIGNS PROTECT FLOOD AND CONFLICT-AFFECTED SOUTH SUDANESE PEOPLE THROUGH RAINY SEASON AND BEYOND
The country’s extreme healthcare barriers place a heavy burden on disease prevention methods to keep families protected from malaria and other diseases through the most endemic season (i.e. peak rainy season). Each year, with support from global partners, malaria prevention campaigns distribute millions of mosquito coils, bed nets, repellent products, and other malaria prevention tools.
SC Johnson has partnered with South Sudan’s Ministry of Health and its on-the-ground partner Society for Family Health (SFH) Rwanda to distribute innovative Mosquito Shield™ spatial repellent products to communities in southern South Sudan (Central Equatoria State). Mosquito Shield™ is a low-cost, lightweight, and easy-to-use product that can be hung in semi-enclosed and enclosed spaces to protect against mosquitoes for up to one month. It passively emanates the active ingredient, transfluthrin, using natural airflow to protect people from mosquitoes in a specific area. SFH Rwanda, SC Johnson, and South Sudan’s Ministry of Health are conducting entomological and user acceptance trials to test the efficacy of this tool in local field and in-home conditions, with the goal of adoption into South Sudan’s national malaria control strategy.
In addition, in August SC Johnson partnered with South Sudan’s government to distribute 60,000 Baygon™ mosquito coils and 28,000 Off! ™ personal repellents to residents of an internally-displaced persons camp in Juba. This free distribution helped fill a considerable gap in malaria prevention tools in the camp.
Meanwhile, in northern South Sudan, United to Beat Malaria has partnered with its on-the-ground partner UNHCR to deliver insecticide-treated bed nets, anti-malarial treatments, rapid diagnostic tests, and other malaria interventions to over 300,000 peopleliving in refugee camps and host communities. These camps are located in two States – Unity and Upper Nile – that have been profoundly affected by the flooding crisis and prolonged conflict.
Our on-the-ground partners have overcome travel restrictions, supply chain issues, and growing insecurity throughout the country to carry out these vital malaria projects. We look forward to sharing results from these projects once the data is available.
Check out the film above to learn more about these collaborative efforts to fight malaria in South Sudan.