21 September 2017

South Sudan: Thousands Stranded After Hospitals Closure

Khartoum — MORE than 600 000 people are without access to primary health care following the closure of some 50 hospitals in crisis-torn Sudan. Insufficient funding has led to the closure of the health facilities in the eastern regions of the country. The cash-strapped government and humanitarian agencies have appealed for U$804 million (R10,6 billion), of which over $300 million has been received. The funding gap has led to closures of health facilities in Blue Nile, Darfur and South Kordofan. United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas, said the setback had left some 637 000 people stranded. "The low level of funding will have an immediate impact on the lives of thousands of people we are serving," Ruedas warned. Meanwhile, international non-governmental organisations' presence in some areas, including the war-torn Darfur, is decreasing, mainly due to a lack of funding. Many NGOs have handed over management of facilities to state ministries of health, who also have limited resources and funding. The East African country is currently facing a severe outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea which has claimed hundreds of lives since 2016. Ruedas said if the outbreak continued, another 40 000 cases might be expected over the next 5-8 months, more than doubling the current caseload.

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