To strengthen governance and leadership capacities at both national and subnational levels towards a more effective and efficient health system, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), with funding from Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance, Government of Canada and European Union and convened a health sector leadership and governance conference in Juba.
The five-day conference was intended to orient and equip the senior Ministry of Health leaders and managers on key health sector governance, leadership and management structures, principles and skills.
“The people of South Sudan have lacked health services for too long due to the war and instability in the country”, said His Excellency Hussein Abdelbagi, Vice Precedent of Service Cluster, South Sudan. “It’s time to come together and work with development partners to deliver health care services to the people of South Sudan who need it the most”. He also added that the Government of South Sudan has increased the health budget allocation from 1.9% to 10% this fiscal year 2021/2022.
This was the first leadership and governance conference conducted after the formation of the transitional government of national unity in the Republic of South Sudan in 2020.
His Excellency Abdelbagi directed the state ministers of health and director generals to embrace the reform in their respective states in line with the peace agreements and to oversee the policies and guidelines.
The conference brought together State Ministers’ of Health, Director Generals from all the ten States and the two Administrative Areas, as well as the senior management team of the National Ministry of Health. It provided an inclusive platform to discuss and agree on actions to accelerate the delivery of quality health services to the people of South Sudan across the country.
In her remarks, the Honorable Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achuei said “health sector governance is one of the main building blocks of the health system and is critical for providing direction for quality health care development and implementation. Hence strengthening governance and leadership capacity is important at contributing towards a more effective and efficient health system to achieving the health sector targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
Honorable Achuei urged the state Ministers of Health and the Director Generals of the Ministry of Health to use the knowledge to lead the health sector at the sub-national level towards achieving the health sector targets.
“The Leadership and Governance conference is a platform to discuss challenges and deliberate how to move forward in the states as well as know policy documents and align workplans and activities to those policy documents in collaboration with partners”, said the Dr Victoria Achut, the Undersecretary Ministry of Health South Sudan.
Dr Achut encouraged the participants to utilize the existing coordination mechanism; discuss with implementing partners to integrate the ongoing activities and avoid duplication; encourage national NGOs for sustainability so that they take up the lead in future. She also urged the state Ministers of Health to integrate COVID-19 into the existing health structures; take the lead in the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and work with the Ministry of Information to pass on important messages on health to ensure that the community adheres to COVID-19 preventive measures.
Dr Guracha Guyo, Officer in Charge of WHO South Sudan underscored WHO’s commitment to working with all stakeholders under the leadership of the Government at all levels to implement the resolutions/recommendations arising from this conference and ensure that all the Universal Health Coverage aspirations of the Country are achieved. “WHO remains committed to supporting the government of South Sudan to improve the health of the people and will continue to avail supports within our mandate to improve healthcare services of the people of South Sudan”, said Dr Guyo.
Strengthening governance and leadership capacities at national and sub-national levels in the context of South Sudan where several partners are engaged in health service delivery is critical for ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the health system. Strengthening leadership, management and partnerships are indeed key policy and strategic objectives of the National Health Policy and Health Sector Strategic Plan for realizing universal health coverage and should therefore be sustainably built at all levels.