South Sudan: a young country's fight against COVID-19

Pan Afr Med J. 2020 Dec 17;37(Suppl 1):49. doi: 10.11604/pamj.supp.2020.37.49.27327. eCollection 2020.


COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease that has started to creep into African countries including South Sudan. Following confirmation of the first few cases, the government enacted preventive measures to curb community transmission. However, daunting challenges deter these precautionary measures. Just after two years the country took its independence from Sudan, civil conflicts sparked and continue to overburden and undermine the fragile healthcare system. The conflicts have caused disruption of health services, destruction of health facilities, death and migration of health workers, displacements of a huge number of people. This scenario continues while the country is grappling with the pandemic. Other concerning issues include: insufficient COVID-19 testing capacity, limited medical and personal protective equipment and an inadequate number of health workers which leave the country ill-equipped in the battle against the pandemic. Non-compliance of COVID-19 prevention protocols by the general public due to high rate of poverty and social stigma contribute to the spread of the virus. The current situation in South Sudan make evident that there is a need for an immediate ceasefire by the warring sides so the available health services including COVID-19 efforts, are not disrupted to ensure the safety of all. The government needs to further build the capacity of its health sector with the cooperation of its international health allies to be able to provide its citizens with the health services they need.

Keywords: COVID-19; South Sudan; challenges; conflict; health system; responses.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • Capacity Building
  • Civil Disorders
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Poverty
  • Social Stigma
  • South Sudan / epidemiology