Primary Healthcare (PHC) has been recognised and adopted globally, following the Alma-Ata Declaration, as the most suitable approach for basic healthcare delivery. It includes a selection of the most cost-effective elements in healthcare and promotes an integrated delivery of these services at facility and community level. PHC improves accessibility to healthcare among populations in rural settings and enhances national progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The Directorate of Primary Healthcare comprises a number of Departments carrying out distinct functions.
Expanded Programme on Immunisation
The Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), dating back to 1976, operates at both state and county levels. Its goal is to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by vaccine-preventable diseases, especially among women and children. High immunisation coverage, using potent vaccines and safe immunisation procedures will achieve this goal. Major functions of the department include:
- Increasing immunisation coverage across South Sudan.
- Ensuring the use of potent vaccines and safe immunisation procedures.
- Conducting both routine and supplemental immunisation activities.
- Collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the Polio Eradication Initiative, national immunisation days (NIDs), AFP, combating measles and surveillance.
- Collaborating with UNICEF to increase and maintain vaccination rates for BCG, DPT, OPV, measles, and tetanus vaccines; and to develop South Sudan’s cold-chain storage and improve social mobilisation.
South Sudan has some of the worst nutrition indicators in Africa. As of 2010, it was estimated that 48.2% of children were stunted due to chronic malnutrition with 22.7% suffering wasting, indicating acute malnutrition. These results confirm the average trend of 22% global acute malnutrition (GAM) observed in the period from 1998 to 2009. The most recent nutrition survey conducted between January and June 2012 revealed an 18.5% GAM rate and 3.9% severe acute malnutrition (SAM) within twenty high-risk counties. Malnutrition plays a large part in the high mortality rate for children under five and contributes to the overall disease burden. Recent evidence links early childhood malnutrition to later development of chronic non-communicable disease; it is also associated with irreversible damages to cognitive and physiological development. These consequences, in turn, lead to economic losses and undermine the development agenda. Malnutrition is caused by inadequate food intake, inadequate healthcare, ignorance and negative socio-cultural practices. Nutrition shall constitute a core component of the Basic Package of Health and Nutritional Services and other related health policies.
Because of its crosscutting importance, the MoH shall strengthen coordination and collaboration with multi-sectoral stakeholders to improve the nutrition situation in the country. The MoH shall engage in core interventions to address all forms of malnutrition including the double burden of over nutrition. A framework for mobilising resources for nutrition services shall be developed and the policies, plans, structures and systems needed to implement quality nutritional services, established.
Health Promotion & Education
Health promotion is part of an integrated approach to health development. Health is affected by a broad range of determinants – physical, socio-economic, biological, lifestyle, cultural, and environmental – all of which must be addressed in order to improve the long-term health and development of communities. The MoH recognises the role of health promotion as a way to give people the tools to better understand and improve their own health. It comprises a social and political process, to strengthen the skills of individuals and change social, environmental and economic conditions so as to ameliorate public and individual outcomes.
Dr Atem Nathan
Tel: +211 (0)955602600