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Minister Awel alarmed by dire health situation in Unity, Upper Nile

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: August 27, 2023

Profile Photo|Health Minister Yolanda Awel Deng with returnees in Upper Nile State. (Social media)

National Health Minister Yolanda Awel raised an alarm over a deteriorating health situation in Unity and Upper Nile states due to the displacement crisis along the Sudan-South Sudan border.

Awel said thousands of civilians are living in squalid conditions in IDP camps and transit centers in the areas known for hosting populations fleeing the conflict in neighboring Sudan.

She said the influx of unscreened and unvaccinated populations into South Sudan has caused a huge concern and anxiety for frontline health workers.

“The health situation we are seeing is very dire in Upper Nile and Unity states. The north zone is highly impacted because it is the longest border in Africa,” Minister Awel said.

She was speaking in Malakal City, while on a visit to Upper Nile State to assess the general health condition of the displaced and local populations.

Awel said the Ministry of Health and its partners will improve and enhance the capacity of frontline workers to screen those entering the country to minimize outbreaks of deadly diseases.

“Our intention is to improve the health situation in Upper Nile and Unity states because we will be having a lot of border-crossing going back and forth without screening and surveillance and vaccination. That mean our health system here will suffer more.”

According to humanitarian agencies, more than 200,000 returnees have entered the country since the war erupted in Sudan and 90% of them are South Sudanese.

There have been incidents of measles and other diseases outbreak in Unity State and Upper Nile.

Last month, 23 people were reported dead from measles in Longechuk County of Upper Nile state, while Unity State’s north recently saw a similar surge of measles cases and deaths.

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